Don’t Blame 2020. Blame…

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Blame us. Yes us, all of us, humans. We are to blame for everything bad that has happened to us this past year. Especially, of course, the coronavirus pandemic. It’s our responsibility, you see, and nobody else. You heard me right. Nature, which we keep mistreating and destroying, is not to blame for it. Not the bats, not the pangolins, not even the parasites. Just as you don’t blame the poor koalas in Australia for the devastating wildfires there. Or the dolphins and the whales for the melting of the ice. This world of ours, the only one we have, is crumbling under our feet. Well guess what: nature has decided to resist and is putting up a mighty fight.

Good for nature. And maybe, though there’s not much hope for it—when and if we put this terrible disease finally behind us—we will learn our lesson from it. We will change our ways. Stop polluting and destroying the oceans. Stop the melting of the icebergs in the North pole and Antarctica. Stop the decimation and killing of fish and animals and other species to extinction. Stop multiply so unconsciously that soon there won’t be a place for us here on earth any longer. As I said, the way I see it, we are to blame for everything.

But… maybe something good will come out of it at the end. This brings to mind something else: Hard as it is to say, one good thing has already happened. Here in America. Yes, here, in the killing fields of devastated America. Where we have close to 350,000 people dead, and more than 20 million infected—numbers that are growing by the day—it is tragic, and very problematic to say, but I’m going to say it anyway. Because this pandemic has saved our democracy. Has saved the republic. President Trump was going strong before it had hit our shores. Considering that some 70 million people have voted for him anyhow, despite his disastrous mishandling of the pandemic—surely he should be blamed for many of the sick and dead—there’s no way he would’ve lost the elections otherwise.

As it is, he is putting up a major fight against the results of the elections, trying to overturn them. Can you imagine what would have happened had the results were closer? And then, we would’ve had him as president/dictator not only for the next four years, but who knows for how long after that? With his disdain for democracy, for freedom of the press, and his adulation of autocracy, another four years would have given him the power to destroy our democracy for good. I have no doubt about it.

Of course, one might say he could—and should!—have behaved like a leader. Behaved differently when it came to preventing the spread of the pandemic. But to say this is to disregard who the man is. In line with everything he does, everything he is standing for, he decided that when it comes to COVID-19 he better abdicate the obligation to face reality head-on. Instead, he created a false, alternate reality for his followers to believe in. He and they are paying a heavy price for it. (Some of them, do you know, even when lying sick and dying from this virus at hospitals, still will deny its existence.) It’s hard to shed a tear for them. And it’s almost as if, it gives me pain saying that, the coronavirus–originated in a wild-animals’ market in China—was sent here to save us from him.

And that’s a good thing. So what else, then, is there for us in the “good department.” I believe there’s a real change taking place—even the cabinet-in-formation that President-elect Biden is assembling is proof of that—in regard to advancing the cause of diversity. The social unrest that irrupted on our streets this year, as a result of the murder of George Floyd (and other black men and women) by the police, turned the wheels forward. It’s hard to see how they can be unturned. The fact that we are diverse, and equal people, is taking hold. Those statues of racist men are not going up again. They won’t be put on pedestals anymore.

Next year, we will have a woman as Vice President for the first time. A woman of color, no less. And while the road ahead is still long, as far as correcting and amending the horrors and mistakes of the past, when it comes to the African American population, a significant change is indeed taking place. And I tell you what’s more, in a different arena though—but returning to the pandemic arena—Dr. Antony Fauci beat President Trump and his supporters. Hands down. They were ready to eat him alive. Trump was about to fire him. But the popularity of the good doctor was too much even for him. And now, in the midst of the pandemic, many young people—looking up at Dr. Fauci as an example—want to study and practice medicine. Want to be doctors. Good for them. And for us.

I have a feeling, also, that ‘kindness’ is on the way up, and ‘meanness’ is on the way down. Now surely, evil and violence are still very much among us, but it seems to me that people are finding ways to be kindlier to each other. I see it all around me. And I hear about it, too. So maybe it’s here to stay. (I myself have tried to be more generous and kindlier with my year-end donations. I hope you were too. And hey, like others, I danced by myself this year. Grew a beard and a ponytail. Heck, why not?) And what do you know, in the last couple of months I’ve begun to correspond with a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl. We are pen pals now. We write to each other occasionally. Giving hope to one another.

So let’s be kindlier in the next year, and give each other hope. We desperately need it!

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Why Most Jews Vote Biden

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The short answer is: Because they are not stupid. They are educated and informed. They leave conspiracy theories to the uneducated and uninformed. Democracy is important to them above all else. They cherish basic decency in human interaction. They oppose fascism and racism. They believe that immigrants should get a fair shake at the American dream. They rather have peace than go to war. Freedom and liberty for all isn’t just a slogan for them, but a belief. They would like to exercise freely their religion, not to suffer from anti-Semitism constantly. And so on.

Now to the long answer: All these things mentioned above, a set of basic beliefs, come even before Israel. Important as Israel is to them, it is no longer the sole reason for their existence. What the current occupant of the White House fails to understand is that while moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem was generally a cause of guarded joy and satisfaction to most American Jews, it did not alter their negative view of him. Nor, they realized, did it solve or advanced the cause of peace with the Palestinians, or generate an avalanche – to say the least – of other countries moving their embassies to Jerusalem. It changed nothing.

The same holds true in regard to declaring Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Other than gaining Trump a place to call ‘Trump Heights,’ with a nice golden sign but no houses or people living there, it achieved nothing. It changed nothing. It didn’t bring closer an agreement between Israel and Syria not one inch. As with Jerusalem, it simply created a momentary cloud of dust, avoiding the real issue: the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. As mentioned above, most Jews are not stupid, and they saw it clearly right away.

Just as they saw and realized that the semi, ‘fake peace’ with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and other such sheikdoms – which were never at war with Israel in the first place, and for quite some time entertained open relations with Israel – will fail to advance the cause of peace with the Palestinians, or push them closer to an acceptable resolution. It’s all dust in the air, not supported by the majority of these undemocratic countries and their oppressed citizens. So now, in another attempt to gain an advantage in next week’s election, Trump has pushed Sudan likewise, even taking it off the list of state sponsoring of terrorism, and offering it billions of dollars in order to sign an agreement of normalization with Israel.

It’s the same way Trump deals with the coronavirus pandemic: avoiding the real issue, the hard way to treat and deal with it, and throwing empty promises in the air. Most Jews realized that from the outset and behaved responsibly, suffering minimal casualties, other than the ultraorthodox communities of Jews, both in Israel and in America, his greatest supporters. His other fervent supporters, among “white supremacy” America, didn’t and still don’t realize that – i.e. the full severity of the global pandemic – and therefore are paying a hefty price for it. This president is a buffoon, an imbecilic dictator in the making who has no business leading the most powerful country – if it’s still the most powerful country, which I begin to doubt – in the world.

Biden is a different person, and leader, altogether. A person of common decency. A person of valuable experience. A uniter—not divider. What America and the world need now, most Jews realize, is a president of the people, for all the people. A president who would reunite the country as much as humanly possible, even if the extremists will always stay in the wings, and will try to resist. He will work to bring black and white together, not apart, People with different sexual orientations likewise. They will find an open door in his oval office. He will continue Obama’s work to give people affordable health care insurance and treatment, not take it away from them. He will give new immigrants a chance at the American dream, not build a wall to lock them out.

He will rejoin the international climate accord on day one, as he had promised he would do. He will work with the European countries, and with China too, to reverse the disastrous effects of human brutality against nature: The pandemic, the hurricanes, the global rise in hot temperatures, the melting of the ice, the flooding of cities, the killing of fish and wildlife. He will work with our allies, and with the young people of this world, to reverse course.

He will rejoin the nuclear deal with Iran, and try to reverse course on this issue too. This major achievement of the Obama administration, which Trump did all he can to destroy. Another thing he thought Jews would like and thank him for. But as pointed out before, Jews are not stupid. And they realize what a disastrous policy it is. Appeasing Israel and Netanyahu, causing Iran –the rest of the world too, mind you, like Russia and N. Korea – to go ballistic with their nuclear ambitions.

Under Trump, the atomic clock moved dangerously closer to striking midnight. Biden will try to reverse it. He will listen to scientists and experts. He will read the intelligence reports and pay attention to them. He will try to reverse the slide of the democratic world – Israel included – towards an authoritarian, undemocratic world. Jews read, learn, and understand what’s going on here, in America and there in Israel. And they don’t like it. The great democracy of the Middle East, the bastion of the rule-of-law there, is in grave danger. Jews, as well as Biden, see it. And, if he is elected, they will work together with him and his administration to reverse it.

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