Airs Nov. 5, 2016 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cX5zCpfhuk&feature=youtu.be
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of November 6, 2016.
Well, my friends, this is it. In three days, we drag ourselves to the local junior high school, sign our names in a guest book, hold our collective noses, and pull the lever to choose which nightmare we wish to endure for the next four years.
On one side, we have Hillary Clinton: experienced, resilient, hardworking, honest as the day is long. At the South Pole. If you ask this woman, “what color is the sky?”, her answer’s gonna be, “Well, depending on the time of day and the light refracting away from various planets, we could be somewhere in the azure-like spectrum. But until I’ve done more research, I have to reserve comment on that.” Hillary Clinton gets a memo with a giant “C” on it for “Classified,” and she thinks the “C” stands for, “Come, put this on your home computer — where you haven’t updated Norton Utilities in three years.”
And two-faced? This woman has more faces than Mount Rushmore in a hall of mirrors. She tells rich fatcats she’s for open borders, but then she tells middle-class Democrats she’s for protecting trade. She bashes her opponent as a sexist pig but persecutes any woman who humped her husband. Which is a full-time job, by the way. Hillary promises to get tough on America’s enemies, but when was Secretary of State, the Middle East turned into Terrorist Disneyland. Heck, Hillary Clinton wouldn’t even be the nominee if Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her party apparatchiks didn’t treat Bernie Sanders like a naughty puppy who was soiling the carpet by lifting his leg to the far left.
For all his faults, people still love Hillary’s husband, Bill. He’s got the twinkle, he’s got the polish; he’s got another box of cigars at the ready. But that popular love just doesn’t transfer to Mrs. Clinton, who’s been in the political game too long to ever be a real person again. Even people who don’t dislike her understand that if she’s elected, the country will stay the same. The economy will still grow at a pace that makes photosynthesis look like the Indy 500. ObamaCare will put more people in hospitals . . . with heart attacks after they see their premiums. And America will still lag behind the rest of the world in everything except obesity and unwatchable cable TV channels.
And yet, of the two candidates running for the two major political parties, Hillary Clinton is the better choice. I know that’s like saying a bowl of chocolate-covered horse radish is preferable to a dish of month-old sheep vomit, but if you had to pick, you go with the maror over the moron. No question, Donald Trump is a wildly successful businessman. He’s successful, and he’s wild. I like that he has balls, but then again, what else do you shoot with a loose cannon?
Now, I don’t hold against Donald Trump that he’s gone bankrupt a couple of times. It takes a savvy entrepreneur to pick yourself up, dust yourself up, pay your creditors two cents on the dollar, and start all over again. And I don’t mind that he hasn’t paid any taxes since the Hoover administration. If I could find a legal way not to pay sales tax every time I bought a pastrami sandwich, I’d be owning Trump Hotel. Which would be especially ironic since neither of us owns it. For all his building development, Donald Trump does not own most of the buildings he has his name on. But I don’t hold that against him, either. After all, if my last name were Parkinson, would I want my name on a disease?
What I do begrudge The Donald are his deals with the devil. When The Orange One first announced his candidacy, his whole shpiel was about being an outsider. He wasn’t a lifelong politician and therefore took no money and owed no favors. That’s tremendously appealing, especially when you’re also plain-speaking, pro-Israel, and promising to play by your own rules. Had Mr. Trump gone with a third party or created his own party—and I don’t mean the kind of party where he offers a supermodel $10,000 to polish his cornerstone—I mean Ross Perot-ing it. Saying “shtup you” to the Pelosis and the Paul Ryans, because he could. Between his bank account and grass-roots support among the kind of white people who think Canadians are as exotic as foreigners should be allowed to get, Donald Trump could have funded a truly “outside” campaign.
Instead, he gets in bed with the elephants. The same people who gave us eight years of George W. Bush, not to mention Fox News, Richard Nixon, Sarah Palin, Strom Thurmond, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. So the Republicans think they can corral Trump, Trump thinks he can streamroll the G.O.P., and I think they should both go down in flames. Trump wants to build a wall to keep out Mexicans? Who’s gonna pick my etrogs for Sukkos? He’s gonna give tax credits to the ultra-wealthy so their money will trickle down? Wanna bet it trickles down into their yachts, their jewelry, their private islands . . . Trump wants to pick Supreme Court justices who will protect the Constitution. The Constitution doesn’t need protecting; it just needs an annotated edition with color pictures, a worksheet, and an interactive website. Actually, the Torah could use that, too. I’ll have to tell that to God next time we talk.
Anyhoo, Donald Trump says, “What have you got to lose?” Everything stinks; maybe I’ll stink less. Of course, the last guy who said that was Ralph Nader, and we all saw how well that turned out. So for what it’s worth, I endorse Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. It is not a ringing endorsement. In fact, it’s more of a thudding endorsement. But look at the alternatives: the Trumpster fire? The Libertarian guy who thinks Aleppo is a tiger with spots? The independent party run by a dude named “Joe Exotic?” Look him up. He’s got eight rings in his ear, a Fu Manchu moustache, and a mustard-yellow leisure suit that should be kept 1,000 feet from any building and detonated. Or the guy from the Legal Marijuana Now Party — because, of course, the most urgent problem facing our nation today is finding a place to get your mellow on with some sweet bud? Or the guy from the Nutrition Party, whose sole claim to fame is inventing the Muscle Maker Grill? I mean, I like George Foreman, but I wouldn’t want him negotiating with North Korea. Except about barbecue, and even then, kimchi would be a dealbreaker because who the hell wants to eat that? Seriously.
So we come to the long-awaited end of this contentious, obnoxious, unfathomable election cycle in America. A cycle that had one candidate call a war hero a coward and another whose every private email makes the New York Times bestseller list. Meanwhile, the rich get richer, the bridges are crumbling, the schools are stupid, the terrorists are multiplying, and Steven Tyler is making country music. We’re in big trouble. But vote anyway because if we’ve gotta choose between an egotist with a messiah complex or a liar who understands complexity, I’ll take the one who isn’t relentlessly battling crucifixion. Let’s face it…what Rabbi wouldn’t?
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York. Vote early, vote often, try the veal.
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