Pandering and saving

We certainly do live in exciting times.

This weekend falls between the first two presidential primaries of this you’ve-got-to-be-kidding year, when all the rules that seem to have governed our political system have been thrown away, tossed over the shoulder of the body politic like so many wine glasses hurled by drunken English kings (at least in old movies starring Charles Laughton).

Politeness? Gone. Vulgarity? Well, hello, big boy. Crassness and crudeness and insane pandering — it’s all here.

We do not want to get into specifics about any candidates (well, at least not in these pages. Talk to any of us privately and it’ll be very different) but we do want to point out how interesting it is that Bernie Sanders, with his comically thick Brooklyn accent and old-Jewish-socialist-guy persona, has not had to defend his Jewishness. Many people find much to object to about him, but somehow not that.

Go figure.

And two of the leading candidates have daughters who are married to Jews, and one of those daughters, Ivanka Trump, now is Jewish too. The only time that’s mentioned is when Ivanka’s father wants to pander to Jews. It’s seen, in other words, as a benefit.

Who knew?

Meanwhile, as we’ve noticed before, stories in this paper often coincidentally seem to revolve around similar themes. This week, two of them look at the Holocaust and its wounded but valiant survivors as parents. A third story, set in the same period but here in New Jersey, tells about a child whose mother had to give him up to an orphanage in order to be sure that he’d be fed and kept warm.

We read these stories with horror and amazement. How did anyone get the strength to survive? The courage to have children? The decency, despite everything they’d seen, to go on to live moral lives? Somehow they did.

And somehow there also always seem to be people who are inherently good, who help, who risk, who nurture, who save.

It would be heartening to be able to believe that our bloviating politicians, as they aspire to lead us, have some of that decency at their cores. As the election season goes on (and on and on and on) we’ll be keeping an eye open for that.

About the Author
Joanne is the editor of the Jewish Standard and lives in Manhattan with her husband and two dogs, so she has firsthand knowledge of two thriving and idiosyncratic Jewish communities. (Actually that's three communities, if you also count the dog people.)
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