I write these words a few short hours away from the Kol Nidre service here in Herzliya. I am reflecting and pondering the year behind and the year ahead. I am caught up in the frenzy that is the US election. It’s an evil time in the world and the US is in trouble. Neither candidate is beloved. Neither candidate has many passionate supporters. I will vote for Hillary. I have no choice. Here’s why.
I am thinking of the men I know best, those in my family. I start with my grandfathers, both of whom lived with us and both of whom were committed Jews, practicing and living their lives according to halacha. My mother’s father read the Yiddish Forward, a notably left wing newspaper.. He was active in the ILGWU, the International Ladies
Garment Workers Union. He might have supported Bernie in the primaries but he clearly would not have supported Trump ever. He would have said, Du bist meshuga? if any member of our family would have considered a Trump vote. A valid question indeed. And my answer, No pop, Ich bin nit meshuga.
My Zayda, my father’s father, would have agreed. He himself had a tiny real estate empire, nothing Trump like but all earned and paid for by the work of his own two hands. His subcontractors were always paid. His income tax was paid as well. His soul was pure and his business dealings were honest. He would not have voted for Trump. Never.
My father was a totally honorable person. He would have pointed out that Hillary is not entirely trustworthy. For sure she has al chets galore. She is a typical politician only set apart because of her gender. But, he would have noted, that’s what we’ve come to expect from politics and our country has survived until now. What we have today that we didn’t have in the times of my father, and grandparents as well, is more knowledge of the candidates. Campaigns in days gone by were sanitized. As were candidates. We only saw what they wanted us to see. Now we see their lives under microscopes. Usually we don’t like what we see. My father would have reluctantly voted for Hillary.
My husband sees Hillary clearly. She’s less than ideal, emphatically. But, he worries about the future. He thinks about our children and grandchildren, and, God willing, great grandchildren. He thinks of the world as it will be for them. He thinks of our beloved Eretz Yisrael and how best to protect her. He thinks of the standards of morality and decency, integrity and goodness. Then he thinks of the despicable man named Donald Trump, a man who has absolutely no redeeming feature. Amazingly, none at all. He will take Hillary with her flaws and pray that she can rise above them and become a great president. A world left to Donald Trump could conceivably be the end of the free world as we know it. That is not a fear that he has with Hillary. Not at all.
Our sons and grandsons. Can we imagine them engaging in the so-called locker room talk of Donald Trump? No we cannot. When the would-be president of the United States speaks from the gutter and we don’t want young children to hear what he is saying, can we really imagine this man leading our children? Leading us? And these X rated tapes are only the apex (or maybe not even) when we have heard virulent racism, misogyny, contempt for war heroes and war dead, blatant dishonesty in business, sexual innuendos about his own daughters, unfaithfulness to multiple wives and on and on and on.
I love and adore the men in my life. I am obligated to live my own life in respectful memory of those who came before me; and with those with whom I walk this earth. It defies my imagination to conjure up any circumstance where any of my men could act in the same revolting fashion as Donald Trump. I thank God that my men are men of whom I can be proud. They are men who bring honor to me and to our people and to the United States of America.
May we all vote with wisdom and not betray the trust of those who came before us. May we be examples for those who follow us.