Friday, March 23, 2018

When Policy Collides with Ethics and Morality

New National Security Adviser, John Bolton
As it applies to Israel it is almost impossible to understate the significance of John Bolton as President Trump’s as new National Security Adviser. (...replacing H. R. McMaster). Bolton is a politically conservative foreign policy hawk that almost makes Prime Minister Netanyahu look like liberal pacifist. This White House position does not need congressional approval . So… he’s in! End of story.

The Trump administration is by far the most pro Israel administration in the history of Israel’s existence. By far. Increasingly so… as he keeps replacing pro Israel advisers with even more pro Israel advisers.

My own view on what being pro Israel means is a practical one. I support whatever it takes to make Israel a strong, safe, secure, and prosperous country at peace with its neighbors and the indigenous Palestinian population. How do we get there? That too is a matter of controversy. Which is why I don’t see the previous administration in the same evil light as some of my coreligionists of the political right do. However, even though the proper path towards that end is unclear, my heart is with the current administration’s policy. How can it not be?

I am also more or less pleased with the rest of his foreign policy decisions as well as most of his domestic policies. With the exception of his protectionist tariffs, his polices have benefited the economy greatly. Not going to go into details. But the proof – as they say – is in the pudding. (Lowest unemployment in decades,  lower taxes… just to mention a couple of things.)

President Donald J. Trump
And yet, I still believe that a man like Donald Trump dishonors the office he holds. And I wish he wasn’t President. His life is filled with accusations of sexual harassment – his denial to the contrary notwithstanding. And even in the highly unlikely event that all of his accusers are lying and he sexually harassed no one, his life is still one filled with immoral behavior. 

One can see his true character when he believes no one is listening. As was the case in that now infamous recording on a bus on the way to the set of Access Hollywood a few years ago. Not to mention cheating on his wife and having affairs with a porn star and Playboy centerfold. He denies that too. But those denials are so laughable, that he hurts himself more by denying them then simply admitting to them.

My feelings are therefore terribly mixed about this man. It is impossible to understate my disgust with him as a human being. A man like this should never hold the highest office in the land. He should not be the symbol of leadership in the world. Being the leader of the free world comes with responsibilities. Not only must he have policies that work. He should be an exemplar of ethics and morality. A role model for American children who might want to grow up to be President someday. What kind of role model talks and behaves the way our current leader does? The President of the United States is often called the leader of the free world. It almost turns my stomach to say that. World Leader! Ugh!

Trump is more than embarrassment. Much as I like most of his polices, I can’t stand the man.  I’m not even sure what to wish for. I’m not so crazy about an impeachment and removal from office. Although that may happen, I don’t think that is good for the country. Too much of an upheaval. Although I do like the idea of having someone as honorable and moral as Vice President Mike Pence as his replacement. Pence is the antithesis of Trump. He might even be more pro Israel than Trump. But impeachment and removal from office might be too high a price to pay.

The iconic 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy 
Sometimes I wish we were back in the 60s.When there was an unwritten policy among reporters not report on the President’s private life. It is now rather well known that JFK, one of the most popular Presidents in US history (to this day) had extra marital affairs and various sexual escapades while he was in the White House.  His private life probably was as immoral as Trump’s. And even though some White House reporters knew about it, they chose not to report it. As bad as cheating on one’s wife is, it is not the public’s business really. It is between the cheater, his wife, and his lover. That would never fly today.

Although it was a false narrative, it was one I preferred over the truth we now must live with. Today, digging through whatever garbage a reporter can get his or her hands on in order to smear an office holder is the highest priority these days. Investigative reporting used to be about substance. As it was with Nixon and Watergate. Today, anything goes.

One might ask, ‘Isn’t it better to know the truth?’ I’m not so sure. If it does not affect public policy, then what a President did 10 years ago with a porn star hardly qualifies! All it does is identify how truly immoral the man is... and it demoralizes the country.

I miss the good old ‘Camelot’ days of JFK, when the public was infatuated with this handsome and charming young war hero who was now President! His life with First Lady Jackie and his two young children, Caroline and John, John, was depicted as idyllic!  JFK was the role model so many young people aspired to be. Oh how I miss those days. I don’t think we’ll ever see that again!