By Anna Kagan
A long time friend wrote me a comment on a political post I recently made: “Unfortunately, we (our whole family) see everything that is going through very different lenses.”
I decided to write about my point of view partially as an answer to my friend, but mostly to have a clear picture of the facts for myself. I am a member of the FB group “Russian American Jews Network”. I became a member there to understand why Russian Jews support Trump. Every day I answer the same questions, and argue the same points. Writing this writing has helped me with some of the facts.
I do see everything from a different point of view. Here is my point of view.
I do not like looting and destruction of businesses, I do not support “Defund the police”, I do not support Ocasio Cortez, or Tlaib, or Omar, I did not vote for Bernie in primaries. In short, I do not support the far left.
I do support the BLM movement to address racism in this country and police brutality. I do support restructuring of police forces to dedicate more money to social workers and neighborhood policing, and more training of police forces.
I support Federal, State and Local networks of financial support for poor, disabled, and children, including legal immigrants. I support legal immigration to this country from all over the world, because that is what made this country great, because every person should have an opportunity to advance. I support DACA, because these young people are already here, educated, working, and serving in the military. It will be a big shame for this country to deport them instead of making them productive citizens. I do support help for refugees and allowing them to come to the USA reasonably and in a safe manner for society. My family came as refugees, so other people should have an opportunity to come here and build their life. I do support free basic medical services for everybody, I do not support medicare for all, nor private insurance as only choice.
So, these are not radical ideas, these are middle of the road ideas. I see the development of events in this country from a wide range of aspects, not from small petty events or policies. The way I see America right now (under Trump) is not pretty for us and for the next generations.
1. I see the rise of the anti-semitism and racism. “The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) began tracking anti-Semitic hate crimes four decades ago. This past year brought the third-highest spike on record.” (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/anti-semitism-new-normal-america/608017/ ). “Nearly 90 percent of those polled said the “extreme political right” pose at least a slight threat to Jews, with 73 percent saying they disapprove of how President Trump “is handling the threat” of anti-Semitism, according to the survey, conducted between Sept. 11 and Oct. 6 (2019) by the research company SSRS.” (https://nypost.com/2019/10/23/most-jews-see-rise-in-anti-semitism-in-the-us-survey-finds/ )
● August 2017: “Jews will not replace us” https://www.adl.org/blog/two-years-ago-they-marched-in-charlottesville-where-are-they-now
● Oct. 27, 2018: A man armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh cut down 11 congregants in the worst killing of Jews in American history. (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/27/us/active-shooter-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting.html )
● Dec. 10, 2019: A gunman in a kosher deli in Jersey City, N.J., killed, among others, two Orthodox Jews.
● Dec. 28, 2019:A man wielding a machete in a rabbi’s home in Monsey, N.Y., wounded five during a Hanukkah celebration.
And now we see the rise of anti-semitism on the far left during BLM protests and after.
Anti-semitism is like virus – it does not know the political party, it does not know borders. It is a barometer of the political situation in the country. When it is bad – Jews are to blame. Even a great economy, low unemployment and a record stock market before the Corona virus did not lower anti-semitism in this country. And the leadership plays a huge role. We did not like Trump’s reaction to events in Charlottesville (“very fine people on both sides”: https://www.politifact.com/article/2019/apr/26/context-trumps-very-fine-people-both-sides-remarks/ ) and his late reactions (sometimes several days) to the killing of Jews in America. Trump in 2019: American Jews were “disloyal” or had a “total lack of knowledge” to support Democrats (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-21/trump-says-jews-disloyal-to-israel-if-they-vote-for-democrats).
2. About the Democrats “war” on Trump.
Trump’s war on our democratic institutions lead to Congressional hearings. And some probably went too far. But the majority deserves great attention as to how one person can destroy almost three centuries of this democracy.
● First it was Trump’s war on the FBI. Dismissing everybody from the top and installing his people. Then it was Trump’s war on the Justice Department. Dismiss the top and install Barr who is acting like Trump’s personal lawyer. The record setting turnover rate in the Trump administration has been mind boggling. People did not have time to adjust to Trump as these people were dismissed because they thought that they could help the country.
In 3-1/2 years 4 chiefs of staff, 4 deputy chiefs of staff, 3 assistants to the president in domestic counseling, 5 deputy assistants to the president, 8 special assistants to the president, 4 national security advisers, 4 deputy national security advisers, 3 homeland security advisers, and so on. As of May 25, 2020, there have been 415 unique names dismissed and/or resigned from the executive office of the president (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Trump_administration_dismissals_and_resignations ). Are all these people disqualified because they are not capable or because they are not loyal to the president?
● Trump’s blackmailing Ukraine in 2019 for dirt on his opponent is a constitutional violation. The government watchdog – the Government Accountability Office – found that the money was withheld “for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act.” So, the Congress has the obligation to investigate, and thus the impeachment.
● The most recent – Russia’s pay-to-kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. 29 American soldiers have been killed since then. Who is responsible? What did Trump do?
● And now the pandemic. In January through mid March, nothing was done to stop and prevent the virus in the US. “Hoax”, “Democratic states”, Soros, Gates, Fauci are to blame, masks are a political statement, masks and distancing “are for Democrats”. In April: “President Trump fired off a series of tweets Friday that appeared to encourage citizens in states protesting strict coronavirus lock down orders to “LIBERATE” themselves from their governors.“ https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52496514
160K+ Americans are dead now because there was no policy, no direction, no guidance for the first 90 days. But then it was too late, the virus does not recognize borders, race, parties, big or small cities. Who needs terrorists when we have one in the White House? I hold Trump responsible for the virus spread and for the economic downturn. Look where Europe, Asia Pacific and New Zealand are now. They work, the shop, they eat at restaurants, they have open schools. And what do we do? Trump erased all economic achievements before the virus.
All of this shows that our leader does not know and does not want to know how to lead during crises. Historians say that the real president is tested during crises, not during good times. Well, Trump failed. Big time – 160K+ dead.
2. Foreign policy. Trump left all international agreements.
The Paris climate change agreement. The problem is that the climate is changing, and thus more droughts, hurricanes, forest fires, flooding, extreme heat and extreme cold. That means more hungry, more displaced people around the world. And where these refugees will turn to – of course Europe and America. To address this future crises you need a coalition of countries around the world. Trump’s answer – drill for more oil, and get out of the agreement.
TPP (Trans-Pacific-Partnership). The partnership was created to have a buffer for the growing economic and military influence of China in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world. Trump left the agreement and decided to fight China alone. He did not know and did not want to know that to fight China you need all the countries in the world that you can get together in this fight. His tariff war backfired big time. Instead of making China crawl on their knees to the US (as Trump thought), they are stronger than three years ago, more influential all around the world than three years ago, and they make agreements with our former allies and enemies alike.
WHO (World Health Organization). Instead of working and pressuring to reorganize the WHO, Trump left the organization during the pandemic. You have to fight the pandemic simultaneously in all countries around the world. Trump’s idea is to go alone, thus the result – the country with the worst outbreak in the world.
Iranian nuclear agreement. It was not a perfect agreement, but it was something to hold Iran in control for 15 years. Instead of keeping the control and pressuring Iran on ballistic and tactical weaponry, we left the agreement without any plan for the next day. Now, we have no clue what is going on inside Iran, what stage their nuclear program is in now. But what we do know is that Iran and China are in the process of signing a $400B economic and military agreement. How does Israel enjoy this decision? https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/08/08/trump-has-pushed-iran-into-chinas-arms/
Trump left Syria to Russia, Syrian Kurds to Turkey, Lebanon to Hezbollah. And none of them are Israel’s friends. How does Israel enjoy this new neighborhood?
The following is from Nathan’s cousin, Gary Sherman, who is a retired judge from Wisconsin: “My 20 years in politics taught me that there is a vital difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats fight hard for power. After all, power is the only way things can be accomplished in government. I learned that from my mother. However, there are some things that Democrats won’t do for power. There are lines we will not cross.
There is nothing, no limit, even letting people die in large numbers, selling out to our adversaries, nothing that Republicans will not do for power. No Republican would do what Al Gore did (“Al Gore gracefully submitting to a highly politicized Supreme Court decision giving the 2000 election to George W. Bush.“ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/09/opinion/trump-beirut-politics.html?referringSource=articleShare . And not just Trump. He is mad, but his enablers are just as ruthless.
Now, I know that this is contrary to the moral equivalence argument being made here. But moral equivalence is seldom true. There are not “good people on both sides” all the time.”
3. About values.
We use our values to guide our decisions about our relationships (i.e., whom to be friends with, whom to marry) and careers (i.e., whom to work for and with). In other words, we like people who share our values and are drawn towards them.
“In all fairness, we should recognize that lying is sadly not uncommon for politicians on both sides of the political aisle, but the frequency and magnitude of the current president’s lies should have us all wondering why they haven’t destroyed his political career, and instead perhaps strengthened it.” https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/letterstotheeditor/a-complete-psychological-analysis-of-trump-s-suppo-t39846.html And why is the person who said: “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” still so popular? For some wealthy people, it’s simply a financial matter. Tax cut, regulations removed, even if we destroy the Earth. Blue-collar workers are happy that Trump is trying to bring manufacturing jobs back to America. Some people like Trump’s anti-immigration policies. All these people put their moral concerns aside, and put their practical concerns above moral ones. Some people support Trump simply to be rebellious and to bring chaos to our political system: let’s destroy everything and start all over. Some supporters are under-informed or mis-informed, and take Trump’s word for what it is without fact checking. There are those who support giving Trump full authority due to their inability to understand how democracy works. Their words are – “losers, complete disaster” (do you recognize Trump’s words?). And then there are racists and bigots. And there is one more group, those who think that only they can save Israel from liberals. Trump called them “disloyal”.
So, we have Trump who cheated on all his three of his wives, who bankrupted six businesses, cheated contractors, failed with Trump University, failed with Trump’s lines of steaks, ties, vodka, casinos, lied about his charity contributions, used federal troops to clear his way to a church to have a photo-op with Bible in hand. And I ask myself which group do my friends belong to?
In closing, one more thing: as I described above about Trump’s presidency, I support voting Trump out from the White House. It really does not matter to me who will be President instead of Trump, as long as the person is experienced, mentally stable, caring, and knowledgeable. The question is not who is Biden, the question is, should we allow Trump 4 more years of destruction.