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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If America falls, Will Israel Follow?

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“The republic was saved!” So declared Nancy Pelosi, following Biden’s elections’ win. “Welcome back America!” So screamed, with variations, the headlines in Europe. “Long Live Democracy!” Such was the general cry of jubilation among democrats and liberals here and abroad. And yet the assault on the truth by President Trump and his cohorts continues. His refusal to accept the results of the elections, and to accept its consequences, continue unabated. Supported and aided by almost a universal acquiesce and silence from the Republicans in Congress. In short, the battle is yet to be won, it is raging on, with a long winter looming ahead.

While yours truly was indeed jubilant after Biden’s win, he was quicker than most to declare Trump’s actions and inactions, following the elections, a coup d’état. Or, as it actually should be called, a self-coup (since he’s still in power). Other observers, more astute and knowledgeable, followed through with similar assumptions. However, most of these observers and journalists consider Trump just a con man, incapable of executing something more sinister. They believe our institutions, the constitution, and the Army will save us. Inauguration Day will come January 20th and Biden and Harris will be sworn in as new President and Vice President.

Amen to that. Probably so. However, it is clear to me that despite all these voices to the contrary—among them from Trump’s supposed friends and close advisors, insisting that ultimately when the time comes he would leave the White House peacefully—I have strong doubts about that. This scenario doesn’t seem plausible to me. Actually, I see a different scenario in which—yes, very unlikely—he won’t leave the Presidency at all. He is incapable of it, and unable to admitting defeat. He would rather foment his fervent supporters, white extremists all, among whom more than 70% believe—without any supporting evidence—that the election was stolen from him. Fighting in the streets, where his supporters have a clear advantage in arms and ammunition—and in willingness to kill—is not far off. What next: a civil war?

Just saying. Not predicting. But you see, many observers repeat their trust in the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Milley, who declared before the election that the army will stay out of it. It will leave the matter to our political system and politicians. How appropriate. Most observers see that as proof that Trump does not have the army in his corner, and that without the army he cannot succeed in his self-coup. However, Biden and the Democrats also don’t have the army in their corner. And if the army stays neutral, or controlled by the ‘gang’ Trump had installed there at the head of the Department of Defense, of which he is still the Commander-in-Chief, who then will kick the bully out of the White House?

Here’s something you may not know. There is nothing in America’s constitution, or in its history, regarding a situation where a president is refusing to leave the office. Nothing. Point blank. The framers, giving thought and endless talks to every possibility and detail, didn’t realize such a nutcase, such a scenario may one day come to be. So now, if he refuses to leave, what then? If he continues to be regarded as the legitimate president by most of his 70 million voters—who plan a big demonstration in D.C. ahead of the electoral college rollcall—what then? The armed masses in the street will march on, causing havoc. The senate also might continue its silence. And the army will continue its neutrality. What then?…

Complete chaos. Biden had said before the elections, when this possibility was brought up to him, that we have a way of dealing with trespassers. What a nice soundbite. But who will execute the eviction? Under what authority? Trump will be the one still in control of all the buttons. Of all his cronies and criminals he’s put in a position of power, from Attorney General William Barr to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller. I dread breaking it to you, but this is a highly likely scenario. It will be the end of the republic, and democracy.

Okay, I hear you: I’m blowing things out of all proportions. Got it. But even so, think what would’ve happened had the elections were just a little bit closer. Closer overall, and closer in the battleground states. What then?
While I leave you to contemplate this, I turn my attention to Israel. Over there, the situation is, indeed, not so dire. There is a functioning government (about to collapse?) in place, a Prime Minister in charge—for how many years, oh boy, I can’t remember—and the rule of law, shaky here and there, still apply. The Knesset still functions somehow. However, what looms ahead in Israel, and very soon, is the start of Netanyahu’s trial (delayed to February, as Netanyahu is using Trump’s tactics of delay and dismiss) on charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery, and the future possibility of his culpability in the ‘Submarine Affair’ being thrown into the mix as well.

Now imagine, why don’t you, a Prime Minister in office, the strongest politician in the land, being escort by police into court daily. What the political situation will look like then? How his rightwing supporters in the streets will react? I mean, if Trump is in power here as a dictator (just imagine), nothing will stop Netanyahu from canceling his trial altogether, and by any means possible. At the very least, he will subvert the rule of law to his political power, and in the process might do away with democracy altogether. Just as the thousands upon thousands keep demonstrating in the streets for the last few months are claiming.

Furthermore: Assuming the rule of law holds steady, and the Knesset and Government are still functioning democratically. If the trial ends in Netanyahu’s conviction—as I have no doubt it would, at least in part—who will then take him to jail? Or remove him from power? His people—’La Familia’s’ hooligans—will be in the street, armed too. Or he’d call new elections, which he no doubt might still win, thereafter overruling the courts’ judgments and legitimacy. And that’s that, my friends. The collapse of democracy in Israel as well.

Just a nightmare? A prescient vision? You’ll be the judge; you and the days ahead.

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