Dear Mr. President:
It’s been a while since our last correspondence. Well…ok, let me clarify that. It’s been a while since I first wrote an open letter to you. I never really expected us to become pen pals, so “correspondence” may not be the right word, and words have meaning, so I want to make sure my message is precise. But it has been quite some time, and since I didn’t invent a clock to mark it, I wouldn’t really expect you to notice.
A lot has happened since then. I wrote my first letter because I was so incensed and frustrated by your silence over the abduction and murder of three young boys two summers ago, and your equivocations over the subsequent Israeli defense in response to both that event and the thousands of rocket attacks by Hamas aimed at Israeli citizens that I had to speak up. It was obviously more cathartic and therapeutic for me, than it was in any way instructional for you. And I probably had a very limited audience, though many of my conservative friends asked if they could submit it for publication in their “newsletter” of choice. I don’t know if it ever was, but given my prior vocal and active participation as a registered Democrat, I suppose many of them regarded it as “newsworthy”. Just to bring you up to speed, by the way, I am no longer a registered Democrat, but that’s a long story. If you want, I would be happy to send you another copy of my first letter. Just send me a note.
So a quick update since I last wrote to you.
Israel prevailed in its defense against a bloodthirsty terrorist organization known as Hamas, that built tunnels instead of schools, launched rockets instead of an economically independent and free Gaza, and even in the face of a tenuous ceasefire, continues to call for the destruction of the State of Israel, our greatest ally. And you singled out Israel for “concern” about its use of “excessive force” because while Israel was protecting it’s citizens with the rockets of the Iron Dome, Hamas was protecting its rockets with a technology known as the human shield, including children.
Summer gave way to winter and before you knew it, another crisis. The brutal Charlie-Hebdo attacks in Paris, followed by the storming of a Kosher grocery store crowded with customers on a Friday afternoon. Not wanting to give too much attention to the issue, you opted to send James Taylor to tell the French they had a friend, while the rest of the world marched in solidarity with Paris at the horror of what had just happened. Cool-hand Luke you were. After all, it was just the JV team of terrorism shooting up “a bunch of folks in a deli”, as you put it, but more on that later. I guess you wanted us to believe you were just going to show up at high noon with guns blazing when nobody saw you coming. Or maybe that was just in Paris, I think they said they never saw you coming.
Then there was the Iran deal. Anytime, anywhere inspections turned into sometimes, with lots of advance warning, and only where Iran agrees to let inspectors look after it “self-reports” that everything is okie-dokie, come on in, the hard water’s fine. Prime Minister Netanyahu was invited, presumably, by the Speaker of the House to give a speech to a special joint session of the Congress regarding the impending deal. I know you were a bit miffed about being out of the loop in that one, but hey, I think Bibi was a bit miffed that you left him out of the loop on sharing the intel and progress regarding the negotiations like you promised, so we’ll call that one a draw.
You identified Global Warming as the most serious national security threat. I’m still not sure if that was a reference to climate change or the mess in Ukraine, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria or the hot air that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth. I think you may need to define that threat for us a little better. Oh and I almost forgot Canada! (Just kidding…Canada’s fine…for now).
And finally there’s everyone favorite JV team again, back for the second half of the game ISIS. What a bunch of amateurs. Thank goodness they’re not a real terrorist organization with a real army. It would be so much harder to “contain” them the way you have.
Lots of good memories you’ve created for us Mr. President. But now I want to get to something a bit more serious. Our sons and daughters. I have two people in mind specifically.
One was a design student from California who was tragically and brutally gunned down during the recent radical Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris by ISIS, the other was a young 18 year old boy on a post high school “gap year” study program in Israel who was shot by a Palestinian terrorist while returning from volunteer work. Both were American citizens. Yet, neither got barely a mention by you. In fact, you referred to the attacks in Paris as a “setback”, a bump in the road, if you will, in your self-declared successful war against ISIS. After an insensitive and arrogant comment like that, I suppose maybe it’s better that you said nothing about the poor young student in Israel.
But here’s my real question: who are you? Really…who are you??? What kind of man are you? You have children. You have daughters. To paraphrase one of your better moments from your famous Blue State Red State speech, when an American child is murdered in a city anywhere in the world, doesn’t it matter to you even if it’s not your child? Is your pride greater than your compassion? Have you no shame or dignity at all?
Perhaps there is something in your character that just makes it unbearably painful for you to speak of such losses. I could understand that. It took some time for me to come around and talk about it myself. Because, you see, I have friends here, whose children knew Ezra Schwartz. I have a son, who at one point was considering doing a similar “gap year” program. I know mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles across the country who have been walking around in a daze, crying sometimes, at the tragic loss of such a young dynamic, charismatic soul who touched so many lives in such a short time. But even an Imam from Ezra’s community found time to send a letter of condolence to his family that demonstrated a kind of humanity and grace we wish existed in much larger supply these days.
Yet not only did you remain silent on both these tragic losses, you chose the very same day of Ezra’s murder to comment on the “light sentence” against a police officer who used excessive force in arresting an American kid who had participated in street riots and throwing rocks at the police. Some young delinquent who wasn’t smart enough to know how to stay out of trouble.
Now I don’t want to judge what’s in your heart Mr. President. That’s not for me to do. But what the hell is going on in your head??? You famously said this summer that you are the closest thing to a having a Jew in the Oval Office. Well, pardon me, but if that’s true, I’m the Pope! It is harder and harder to believe that you are simply intellectually incapable of recognizing evil and calling it by its name. But if that is the case, it leaves one with only one possible and terrifying conclusion.
“The world will be destroyed not by those who do evil, but by those who watch and don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein
If you think you are close to being a Jew, Mr. President, I would like to introduce you to a very core Jewish principle known as “Tikun Olam”. Repair the world. It’s the mission every Jew is charged with as they become an adult member of society. In fact, it is their soul’s purpose from birth. By my estimation, you’re a long way from being ready for your Bar Mitzvah. But I can think of a whole lot of people who would be willing to perform your circumcision. So maybe we should start there.
Bunch of Folks in a Deli
(Author’s note: Last year, I wrote an open letter to Obama that I circulated primarily via my Facebook page. It had a much more serious tone, and I intended this one to be much the same. I never intended for it to have as much sarcasm and humor when I started writing it. Nevertheless, that’s how it came out. Though I never knew Ezra Schwartz, from all that I have read about him, it seems he was quite spirited and had a bit of a mischievous sense of humor. It that is so, then I hope that perhaps in some small way this letter will serve to honor his memory.)