The nation just witnessed a remarkable feat, the defeat of Donald Trump after a nail-biting election battle that went on for days with remarkable comebacks in states that at first appeared to favor Donald Trump. But as mail in ballots started to be counted, which were always expected to be Democratic, Joe Biden came from behind and managed to pull off a decisive victory in several key battleground states. Donald Trump became a one-term president as the American People decisively decided to reject his vision of America. “Trump: The Show” will not be renewed for a second season.
It is very obvious that the American landscape has changed quite a bit from where it was four years ago, but is also different from four years before that. How have we gotten to this place? What messages are there to be learned from the Trump Saga, and what can be learned from this point on?
I believe much of the culprit lies in what I consider to be the two greatest threats to American Democracy and certainly national unity, and that is political extremism and misinformation. Let us take a moment to examine each of these one at a time.
So how widespread and dangerous is political extremism? Unfortunately, it has grown much stronger in the past four years on both sides. On the extreme Left side, there have been a dangerous embracing of a socialist agenda which would in all likelihood bankrupt America from an economic perspective. On the extreme Right side, are often straight out racists, and many who espouse the dangerous lies of QAnon conspiracy theories, as well as attempts to portray the entire Democratic Party as extreme Left. And adding fuel to the fire are Right Wing media pundits and talk show hosts adding to the paranoia and hate filled rhetoric. It was sad to see the President himself endorse a candidate who espoused the QAnon conspiracies and is now unfortunately a member of congress.
Both of these two extremes on both ends of the political spectrum are what has been slowly building like a cancer in American society and is the root cause of the unrest. The great philosopher and Rabbi, Maimonides, always advocated to the path of moderation in religion and life in general, and I certainly believe the same can be said about politics as well. I believe most of America deep down believes this as well, for they have chosen by a landslide Joe Biden over the more radical Bernie Sanders.
Now let us examine what I believe is the second greatest threat, and that is misinformation. All too often, many are quick to pass along tweets or memes or manipulated photos or videos without bothering to fact check if what they are sharing is true. This has added a great deal to the paranoias and hatred that exists today. I was very disheartened to see the president spread perhaps the most damaging misinformation of all recently, namely calling into question the integrity of our election. The Chairman of the Election Commission already released a statement that there has been no evidence of mass voter fraud, and yet the false memes, manipulated photos and videos continue to be circulated.
So, what is the solution? I believe part of it is to truly begin to listen to the Other Side and at least begin to understand where they are coming from. So, let us take a moment and try to understand or at the very least be sensitive to the Other Side.
First, I wanted to speak to those who voted for Joe Biden, which includes myself. It is easy to gloat with this victory, especially since many on in the Trump Camp had done just that four years ago. But is that smugness really what America needs right now? Nearly half of this country is hurting right now, and hurting really badly. There are many in the Trump Camp that are in fact more moderate, and feel they have legitimate concerns that need to be addressed. It is important to work with those or at the very least, be sensitive to their pain, and listen. Whatever the Biden government will look like, it needs to listen to many of these voices. I was inspired that Joe Biden included this message in his victory speech. And it is also important for Biden supporters to recognize that there were several accomplishments that Trump did do which has benefited the country.
And now I would like to address the Other Side, namely those of our fellow citizens who voted for Donald Trump. Many of them are our own friends and family, and people we love and respect. To the Trump Supporter, the most important step forward I believe, is to acknowledge the many flaws in the Trump Presidency. This includes not only his more obvious deep-seated character flaws, but in his policies and performance as well. The Coronavirus of course is his most well known one, which has left nearly a quarter of a million Americans dead, and the US making up only 4 percent of the world’s population, but yet having approximately 20 percent of the world’s deaths. And there are many other failures as well. And in terms of his accomplishments, if one does some honest fact checking, one would find that most are either exaggerations, or him taking credit for policies and trends started under Obama. So, the list of actual substantial accomplishments is rather modest. The Great Experiment of choosing a person for the highest government position in the country with no political experience whatsoever was an abject failure. I say this not at all from a place of smugness, but to help the Trump Supporter understand why most of the country, including many moderate Republicans did not vote for him. Acknowledging this can help lead to reconciliation.
I very much believe that the first quality to look for in a leader, even more than charisma and intelligence, is that he or she is simply a good person. For a selfish person will eventually only look after his or her own interests and not do what is actually good for the people they serve. Sadly enough, we have seen that play out over here for the past four years. The Lubavitcher Rebbe used to always emphasize the importance of ethical and moral leadership. I believe this is one of them main reasons why the Chabad legacy has not only thrived but even expanded exponentially, since it was built on the foundations of love, acceptance, goodness, and sincerity.
So, the time has come to finally heal and unite once again as a country. Joe Biden is, thankfully a moderate, who wants to work together with Republicans to get things done. He will undoubtedly try to listen to the more moderate voices in the Trump camp and hopefully find some common ground. And as for America, I believe in what Cindy McCain has said, “He will lead this country with dignity.” He deserves for all of us to give him a chance to lead.
And what about Israel? Donald Trump has certainly been the most Pro-Israel President the US has ever had, and it is important to acknowledge his successes for our Homeland, especially helping to facilitate peace with several gulf States. However, not all is perfect regarding his policies with Israel either, and according to many political experts, some may be damaging and dangerous to Israel in the long term. Biden thankfully, supports unconditional military aid to Israel. His approach will be more nuanced, balanced, and thoughtful, probably similar to previous presidents before Trump, and will remain strongly pro-Israel. I believe Israel will be just fine.
We are blessed to live in country despite its flaws, is truly a wonderful country filled with ideals of tolerance and freedoms, and of course, democracy. We had once been the envy of the world for these qualities and I believe we can reach those qualities more fully once again. I believe there is honestly not much difference between the average Democrat and Republican, and the time has come to throw away ugly partisan politics. The time has come to embrace the path of the Moderate, always fact check misinformation, and really truly heal, and understand and embrace those around us. I believe in the inherent goodness of most people and that we really can once again unite as one with a common cause; to make this great country once again the beacon of light it had been for so long. Here is to a brighter and better future for ourselves and our children in the years ahead.