There was a great article by Nicholas Kristof in the Sunday Times a week ago. It is called “A Confession of Liberal Intolerance”. He writes about us liberals, and talks about how willing we are to listen to all kinds of points of view, want to bring everyone to the table, no matter what their color, gender identity, national origin, faith, culture, unless they are conservatives, and especially conservative (read Evangelical) Christians.
It resonated with me in this political season. I mean we were so concerned with the rhetoric of the Republican Right and we along with practically everyone in the Media so underestimated Donald that we couldn’t believe that we would wind up with him as the “presumptive nominee”. I secretly believe that somehow the Republican Party will come to their senses and there will be a miracle in Cleveland. I have so far declined to sign my name to a “Rabbis Against Trump” movement saying to myself, it is too early, too soon, this too shall pass.
I also fantasize that Mr. Trump will stop the act and show us that he is more than a great showman and the best barker in the circus. He will become Presidential as they say and address the real issues facing this country without resorting to name calling and hitting people in their under bellies. I would like to be faced with ideas that challenge me even if I can’t agree. I think Kristof’s point that we learn from those who challenge our assumptions and beliefs is right on target. There is nothing wrong with an honest argument. I would like to know more about how we effectively control the immigration issues without a wall and who will pay for it. I am curious how his policies would grow the economy, raise the standard of living, put people back to work, make America great again, cut taxes and keep businesses from fleeing our shores.
I would like to be faced with one of the fundamental challenges the Rabbis faced when compiling the Talmud. What do you do when people disagree; when principles clash; when all parties believe that they are right and their reading of what is right for America is the one and only position to take seriously? You look at motives; you examine the core; you seek out basic truths. The Rabbis taught: “Kol Machloket…. Every argument for the sake of Heaven will in the end be of permanent value, but every disagreement not for the sake of Heaven will not endure.” They tell us it is ok to disagree; it is ok to have your principles challenged. We learn that way.
Eileen and I play bridge with friends – one of whom is way more bridge savvy than the rest of us. She says that one no trump is the hardest contract to make. The cards are usually fairly evenly divided and no one has said very much so it is hard to even guess who has the strong cards and what is in each player’s hands.
Not a good way to pick a president.