Why Religion and COVID Have the Relationship They Do (for now)

Photo Source: Shyrock, Medical Economics
Photo Source: Shyrock, Medical Economics

The ideas of the earth revolving around the sun, Democracy, and America were viewed as wrong by the masses; but it was consideration of the opposing viewpoint that allowed these ideas to become basic truths and glowing forces in our universe. What some might deem a Thanksgiving gift, on November 26, 2020 the Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Cuomo’s COVID-19 restrictions on houses of worship “are not ‘neutral.” The Court nullified Cuomo’s restrictions on houses of worships’ capacity limits.

Justice Barrett is thought to be the deciding vote in this decision. Rushed through the nomination process about a month before the election, she was only beginning to have her surrounding controversy dissipate before it returned with fervor on the holiday.

For the record, I supported Justice Barrett’s nomination. Barrett’s appointment was 100% constitutional as much as it was hypocritical. But I denounce the closed-mindedness and blind-following of the politicians responsible for her nomination. It was way too predictable who would fall on what side from before Justice Ginsburg breathed her last breath.

Rewind to the nomination of Barrett; think of the controversy that surrounded that. My favorite political commentator and reporter, Michael Smerconish, prides himself with “refreshingly independent politics.” He posted the below video. You might realize its speaker. But focus on what he is saying.

When we have conversations now a days, we generally speak with passion, vigor and demonization of the opponents. Chiefly, we see conversations of this nature in governmental politics. Rarely do we see Democrats offering to assist President Trump in his government. But equally as often does the president tout his bipartisanship and willingness to meet in the middle. Democrats were primarily interested in delegitimizing this president by launching frivolous impeachments, investigations, and other obstructions. Needless to say, Democrats saw it as more productive to tear up the State of the Union speech than to work with it. Likewise, Republicans could not care less of the minority viewpoint throughout the Supreme Court nomination of Barrett.

Just about a couple of weeks ago, one of the loudest catalysts for non-civility preached her philosophy over the airwaves. Falling nowhere short of where she typically does, Rep. Ilhan Omar reaffirmed her commitment to one-sidedness in her interview with Smerconish. See the below clip for the rhetoric and toxicity she stands for.

Source: CNN – Full interview can be seen by clicking here.

This idea that we are supposed to listen to Republicans who benefit from us, you know, um, fighting amongst ourselves as Democrats is one that is not going to put well with me and its not one that’s going to end well for the policies that we are fighting for as Democrats.

As usual, Omar has it wrong. The idea that you are supposed to listen to your adversary is a symbol of humility, compromise, and reason. Almost anyone that experienced competition throughout life would tell you, nearly all the time they learn from their opponents.

To paraphrase the “Ethics of our Fathers,” whoever is smart learns from everyone. I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide whether Omar is smart, by the standard of the ethic. But her philosophy of not taking the opposing viewpoint into consideration shows the level of incompetence that permeates our lives in the political realm and beyond.

Considering an opposing strategy and ideas is what leads to deeper understanding of your adversary’s, and more importantly your own actions. In the renowned “The Art of War” Sun Tzu writes “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

This week, Jews look forward to celebrating the miracle of the stark minority against the opposing majority. In concurrence with Tzu and the Ethics of Our Fathers, the Maccabees knew what they stood for. The Maccabees even implemented Greek strategies of warfare, as did the Greeks implement anti-rebellion measures. As important, they knew what their opponents stood for. Knowing yourself, your values and what you stand for, is vital. But let us not lose sight of something that could be illuminating, informative, and educating. Our opponents.

Author’s Note: This was sponsored by the law firm Goy Gentile, offering people of Sephardic descent legal services to obtain foreign nationalities. On a personal note, I am in the middle of applying for Portuguese Citizenship based on my Sephardic heritage. The professionalism and clarity they provide is well beyond the industry standard! For anyone interested, feel free to reach out to Lucia here.

About the Author
Charles was born to Syrian-Jewish refugees and is an active member of the Brooklyn, NY community. He currently works in e-commerce as a Founding Partner of Chakkalo & Associates. In 2017, he graduated from Hunter College (B.A.) as Class Salutatorian with majors in Philosophy & Special Honors and minors in Middle East Studies, Legal Studies, and Political Science.
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