If you read my blog you’ll realize that I only write when my blood is boiling and it sure is boiling now. I had largely ignored the January 6th hearings until my niece Batya Ungar Sargon, tweeted out how shocked she was by the testimony. So I looked it up and I was shocked too. How else can one react to Cassidy Hutchinson’s reports? If she’s a credible witness, then the Donald knew that his people were armed and he wanted to be at the capital himself leading the mayhem. That turns him into a co-conspirator and a criminal.
I never put much weight in the Donald. Everyone knows that he is a philanderer, a crooked businessman, and an all-around jerk. What troubles me though is the esteemed position he still holds among too many of my Jewish brothers and sisters. I know far too many people who love him, who believe that he was the best president the US ever had.
I understand where this is coming from–a Judeo-centric worldview, which given our isolated status in the world isn’t a crazy perspective to adopt. Trump has done us well. I’m glad that the embassy is in Jerusalem and I’m grateful for the Abraham accords but we can’t allow our gratitude to alter our moral compasses.
Donald Trump is not a Jewish hero. As the January 6th hearings demonstrate he is a corrupt politician, a megalomaniac, and a nut job. He’s not someone we or our children should admire.
Because the American diaspora has been so comfortable American Jews even the most orthodox have fooled themselves into thinking that they are Americans and have entangled themselves in partisan politics and put politicians like Trump on pedestals where they don’t belong. As shocking as it is there were even a few orthodox Jews present at the January 6th rally.
This is not smart.
We can’t forget that the US is not our home and we cannot afford to forget that US politics is an exercise in schizophrenia. Every four years, or sometimes every eight years the pendulum swings dramatically from left to right and then back again. If we affiliate too closely with the losing side we’ll find ourselves without any of the political influence our community so badly needs.
As Dovid Lichtenstein stated so eloquently on his Headlines podcast Torah observant Jews don’t fit the blue-red binary. On some issues, such as introducing WOKE gender ideology to kids we side with the republicans but on immigration rights, we follow the Torah’s dictate to love the stranger and align ourselves with the democrats.
We need a lower profile; there’s nothing that sets off antisemitism more than high-profile rich Jews, especially high-profile political donors. We need to cultivate friendships on both sides of the aisle, and we need to do it discretely.
In the old days, this was called shtadlanus. It served us well for 2000 years and it’s the smartest path into the future.