Friday, November 18, 2016

You've Got to Accentuate the Positive

Jarred Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump
One of the more troubling aspects of the Trump’s election and pending Presidency is the way the media and entertainers - the vast majority of whom are political liberals - are treating Trump’s candidates or actual appointees to high government office. So much of it is partisan that one would have to be completely blind, deaf, and dumb not to notice it. 

I’m sure that these partisans are oblivious to their own prejudices and would say that the Trump’s behavior, speech, and choices speak for themselves. But that is far from obvious to the unbiased observer. Much the same way die-hard supporters of Trump were oblivious to how badly their candidate behaved during the campaign. It’s truly amazing how partisanship colors and distorts one’s perceptions of reality.

I voted for Trump’s opponent – not because I supported her or her political views, but because I saw her opponent to be unqualified to be President for a variety of reasons. Even though I tended to agree more with his policy positions on the issues I care about most than I did with his opponent.

But Trump won the election and it’s time to look at the positive. And not predict the end of the world that so many people upset by his election are doing. Cooler heads are in fact being positive. Like President Barack Obama for example. And Vice President Joe Biden. It’s no secret how they felt about Trump during the campaign. But one would never know that by the way they are talking now.

I can’t predict what his presidency will be like. Whether it will be good for the country (and the world for that matter) or bad. But if you listen to all the professional punditry you would think that every choice he has made or is even considering is terrible. Instead of looking at the any of the positives of his candidates they have been looking under every rock to find something negative to say about them. And then they race to see who can report it first. 

That ends up reinforcing the public’s negative perceptions of him. I just wish the media would at least include the good with the bad about these people. But they don’t. Lucky for Trump that it doesn’t matter what the media says. Trump can ignore all the punditry and choose pretty much anyone he wants to be his advisers and/or cabinet members. Which is exactly what he is doing.

There is one positive thing about the Trump Presidency, however, that as Jews should make us proud no matter what our political perspectives are. Especially observant Jews. It is the fact that so many Jews are a part of Trump’s inner circle. One may not agree with their politics. One may even think that these Jews are not qualified for the high positions they are being considered for. But the fact that the next President will be the most Jewishly oriented President in American history should not go unnoticed. Which is pretty good for a guy many thought was an antisemite… or at least sympathetic to the agendas of  antisemites like the white supremacists that supported him.

According to the Forward, there are nine Jews in Trump’s inner circle.  Whether they get chosen for an official position or not, there is not a doubt in my mind that he will be consulting them on major policy decisions. Just as he did his campaign decisions. Of those nine, the 3 that are among his closest advisers are the 3 observant Jews: His lawyer Jason Greenblatt, his daughter Ivanka Trump, and son in law Jared Kushner. And it seems like Kushner is the rising star of the bunch… and being given much of the behind the scenes credit for Trump’s successful campaign. (see video below)

I’ve already heard the anti Trump spin about Kushner: He is a lightweight. He would  be a nobody without his father Charles Kushner. He is by far not known for his intelligence. His Harvard education would have never happened without his father’s financial resources. That his successful real estate business is really his father’s successful real estate business – which Jared was put in charge of after his father was convicted on corruption charges.

But again, this is not much more than partisan spin – if you can believe a biased anti Trump media that said quite the opposite about him. 

I don’t see how any Jew – no matter what his political affiliation - can view this as anything but highly positive for the Jewish people in America. We are now more accepted than at any time in history… by the most powerful nation on earth!  Could anyone have ever imagined that the daughter of a President would be an observant Jew? And that she and her observant Jewish husband would the President’s most trusted advisers?  

There are those who are skeptical no matter what evidence there is to the contrary. They will point to similar periods in Jewish history like the Golden Age of Spain or pre Hitler Germany and say Jews were saying the same things then about those countries as as I am now about America. And we all know how Jews ended up there.

The typical comment I hear from these people goes something like this: Watch out! If anything ever goes wrong with the economy – or any other terrible event that happens here, the Jews will be blamed for it. Especially when so many of them are in high office. Instead of pride they will be feeling a sort of paranoiac fear based on the history of the Jewish people in other lands. fear. When times fell bad, Jews were always blamed. These skeptics will say that I am naïve to believe it won’t happen here. It will happen here! If Jewish history can teach us anything it teaches us that. it’s only a matter of time.

I can’t predict the future. But there has never been a country like the United States, which was founded on principles of religious freedom. And it is America’s religious freedom that makes the US different. It enables us all to worship freely and respect each other despite our religious differences. As long as we have a constitution that is honored, we are not only going to be able to live freely but we will continue to thrive. There are no longer any real obstacles in our way to succeed at anything - even in the highest levels of government. Now, when a Jew is selected as a possible candidate for high office their religion is not even mentioned – let alone the fact that they are observant.

The American people will no more blame the Jews for a problem that might occur than they  will blame Christians. Even if a Jew in high office is responsible it. The American people are smart enough to know that an entire people cannot be blamed for the actions of one – or a few individuals that happen to be Jewish. That has been proven time and again in recent years America is not Spain. It is not Germany! . Jews were not blamed for Bernie Madoff. Only Madoff was blamed. Observant Jews were not blamed for Jack Abramoff who was observant. Only  Abramoff was blamed.

I therefore have no qualms about a new administration being full of so many Jews. Especially when the more important ones among them are observant. I can only have pride in that. And if you are a Jew, you should have pride too.