Airs Aug. 20, 2017 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube: https://youtu.be/0mWZXgYwFmM
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of August 20, 2017.
Nazis are bad. I just thought I’d get that out of the way in case you didn’t know. Nazis are bad. And just so we’re clear, within the realm of Nazis, I also mean the KKK and White Supremacists. Bad, naughty, bad.
See? Wasn’t that easy?
Not for the president. At a time when the United States needed a leader who could spout soothing platitudes about standing up to the bad guys, President Trump painted everyone as bad guys. And then he started saying that some of the bad guys were good guys. In doing so, he’s made himself a pariah even among Republicans who forgave him for seven previous months of crazy.
And what kills me is that much of what Donald Trump said after the Charlottesville slugfest was both defensible and sensible. In his first statement after the event, the President said there’s no place for bigotry and hatred in America, and that we should all unite as one people. I dare anyone besides David Duke and Mel Gibson to disagree with that. And Chuck Schumer, just because disagreeing with Republicans is how he gets his oxygen.
But Trump also wanted to make a point about law and order. Remember: the guy went to a military academy and grabs his ankles every time a general walks by, so for him, a peaceable kingdom has more value than a righteous one. So he said, Look, you had one side showing up for a rally with torches and sticks, and another side meeting them with bats and pepper spray. When they got too close to each other, it was like a Jerry Springer picnic. And Trump was saying, very clearly, that both sides came to rumble. Instead of the Sharks and the Jets, you had the rights and the lefts. If Antifa hadn’t shown up, the alt-right would have had a non-eventful event. But the militant anti-fascists did come, saw a bunch of racists and Jew haters two feet away, and went to town. If you wave a red flag in front of a bull, you better hide your china. Which mixes two metaphors but still makes more sense than Donald Trump’s next speech.
That’s where the orange one doubled down on the douchebags. Two days after reading a prepared statement saying Nazis are bad—took him two days, but he managed it—he tried to re-re-clarify his pronouncements on the mutual violence in Charlottesville. How did he do that? By saying—and I kid you not—that there were good people on both sides. Which means that white supremacists holding confederate and Nazi flags, shouting “Jews will not replace us”—some of them were okay dudes. And he wonders why even Fox News anchors are having a crisis of conscience. Well, the ones who haven’t been fired for sending dick pics.
Turns out it doesn’t matter who is trying to corral the President—Sean Spicer, John Kelly, the Mooch, that sexy siren Sarah Huckabee—they’re all dealing with a man who says the first thing that comes into his head, which is so filled with orange peroxide, there’s no brain left. If there were, he’d realize that what he was trying to say was simple. In Charlottesville, you could divide the situation into two elements: ideology and behavior. One side had an evil ideology; both sides engaged in inappropriate behavior.
I’ll put it another way. Let’s say Trump pushes through his budget next year and cuts meals on wheels for the aged and handicapped. So a million old people march on Washington. Along with some cripples who roll on Washington. And they protest the cruelty of denying support to those who need it most. And the protestors are so mad, they start bashing young people with their canes and hurling their diapers into the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial. Worst of all, they destroy the ratings of the Hallmark Channel by missing a whole day of “Diagnosis Murder” reruns.
Now, ideologically, these geezers are on the side of the angels—with whom they will be consorting soon enough. They have right on their side. Not alt-right, virtue-right. But behaviorally, they’re wicked, and should be arrested as soon as the first colostomy bag hits the Potomac.
So you see that moral evil can be separated from physical misconduct. A well-spoken Nazi in a suit and tie is still a Nazi. A heart surgeon who speeds through a red light still deserves a ticket. And a President who usually means well can keep doing things that make us want to impeach him.
We’re in for a long national conversation about pulling down statues, taking down blogs, and everyone being fed up. But take heart, America. It’s only 41 more months to the next presidential election. And if we can just manage to stay out of a nuclear war, that’s more than enough time to bounce back from a civil war. Isn’t it?
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York.
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