Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Open Letter to Sean Spicer Regarding his Comments made about Hitler and the Holocaust

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Dear Mr. Spicer,

I am the son of Holocaust survivors and I am writing to you in regard to the comments you made, of all days, on Passover.   Maybe I am not as forgiving as some, but to be blunt, your apology is not accepted. At least not by me.  And here’s why.

You started off by saying the following:

“You had someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

In an attempt to fix your error you went on to say:

I think when you come to sarin gas, [Hitler] was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing. . . . He brought them into, um, the Holocaust center  —  I understand that. But I’m saying in the way Assad used them where he went into towns, dropped them down into the middle of towns, it was brought  —  the use of it  —  and I appreciate the clarification.

Mr. Spicer, I do not believe you to be an anti-Semite, nor do I believe you made your comments out of any desire to hurt or offend any member of the Jewish community.  That being said, sometimes the words are so despicable, an adjective you yourself used, and the actions are so disgraceful, that neither an apology nor lack of malicious intent is enough to move on.  In addition, the nature of an apology tells a lot about how a person feels.  So when the apology seems more motivated by how bad you look and how much you let your boss down than it does the pain and anger you caused significant parts of an entire community, then apologizing is just not enough to make it all better.

The problem I have with this Mr. Spicer, is that your words revealed a deeper and more dangerous perception of the Jewish people and the horrors of what took place in the Holocaust.  To your credit, I do believe your apology tour makes clear you did not want to hurt anyone, but with your clear lack of understanding of where you went wrong you have a lot of work to do before I and many people who think as I do are willing to put this incident behind us.  Ironically I suspect my greatest opposition to the views I am stating here will come from my fellow Jews who are in your camp and feel I am some sort of traitor to my people for wanting Hillary Clinton as president over Donald Trump. They will come back to me with responses like, “Everyone is allowed to makes a mistake” or “Hillary would have done a lot worse for the Jewish people”.  To which I respond as follows. The seriousness of the mistake dictates how easily or soon it is forgiven, and this is not about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  This is about Sean Spicer.

You see Mr. Spicer, you revealed a subconscious and critical perception, one likely ingrained in you for a long time, and that is the perception that Jews in Germany were not really Germans.  This perception is in line with how the Nazis perceived their Jewish population and the Jewish population throughout Europe.  They referred to them as sub-human. So from the perspective of the Nazis, Hitler didn’t use gas on his people because Jews were not really people.  I know you did not mean to infer this, but if you are to apologize, you might want to understand the deep-rooted problem in your comments.

I also felt part of your apology to be somewhat patronizing inasmuch as it came across as though you were sorry you even made a reference to Hitler, as though mentioning his name is enough to offend us Jews.  Jews don’t necessarily mind the reference being done appropriately, but when the President’s detractors compare him to Hitler I find myself protesting that as well, because as much as I am not a fan of your boss, calling him another Hitler is inappropriate on many levels.  To refer to Bashar al-Assad as being like Hitler in regard to his penchant for murder is appropriate enough that had your comments not gone further than that, I doubt many people would have protested, despite some glaring holes in the comparison.  One such hole being that Assad has never exhibited an ambition towards global domination, and the other being that his brutality is based more on controlling with an iron tyrannical fist than it is on wiping out an entire segment of the population. But inasmuch as Assad has shown himself to be an evil murderer , he is similar to Hitler.

I guess what bothers me most Mr. Spicer, is that although I believe you when you say you are sorry, I am not convinced you really understand enough for your apology to really count.  Until you know that places like Auschwitz and Dachau were Concentration Camps or Death Camps, not Holocaust Centers, and until you understand the problem with your words is not just the use of Hitler’s name but the lack of understanding of what it does to a people to have 6 million members of their kind murdered, I will see your apology more as an ‘oops I messed up’ than a deep feeling of regret.  When this is more about an understanding for the sadness of the Jewish people and less about a feeling of letting your boss down, only then will I personally accept your apology.  Who am I you might ask?  I am someone representative of how a significant segment of the Jewish population feels, I am an American, and I am a Jew. These factors all give me the right to speak my mind.

Mr. Spicer, if you take the time to learn more about what happened in Europe under Nazi occupation and truly understand the devastation, I am sure you will not only express openly a new mindset, but you may even be a better person for it as well.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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You’ll have to forgive me Mr. President. I’m a Jew and I’ve been hurt before

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I know as a Jew and a Zionist I am supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy today.  After all the President of the United States did greet the Israeli Prime Minister with great respect and they expressed their long lasting friendship.  To make it even better, President Trump went as far as saying that he would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.  That’s never been said before. Oh wait. It has been said before. By just about everyone else to run or step into the office since at least the mid 90s.  So although I appreciate the nice words, right now they are nothing more than that, and as a Jew I am yet to be convinced.

For example, outgoing President Barack Obama, a disappointment to so much of the Jewish community started off by making the following comments.

“Let me be clear,“Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. … Any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state with secure, recognized, defensible borders.”

“Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.”

Go back to recently defeated candidate Hillary Clinton who wrote the following in a letter, dated July 2, 1999 to Dr. Mandell Ganchrow of the Orthodox Union in New York.

“If I am chosen by New Yorkers to be their senator, or in whatever position I find myself in the years to come, you can be sure that I will be an active, committed advocate for a strong and secure Israel, able to live in peace with its neighbors, with the United States Embassy located in its capital, Jerusalem.”

Her husband, former President Bill Clinton declared in February 1992, at the height of the Democratic primaries, that he supported recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a step that would alter U.S. policy, but never signed the 1995 congressional mandate to move the embassy.

Senator John McCain pledged to move the U.S. embassy in Israel “right away” from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as did Senator Robert Dole and George W. Bush who actually did become president.  Candidate Bush made the pledge to move the embassy on his first day in office. Once in office he said he went from doing it on the first day to saying he would begin the process on his first day.  Instead he signed a waiver every 6 months delaying the same 1995 congressional mandate and in the end never did it.

Enter President Donald J. Trump.  Yes he has said some very nice things. He too promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem.  But now he is looking into it. He promised to rip of the Iran deal on his first day.  We must have missed it. And he publicly stated the following at a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“I would like you to hold back on settlements for a little bit.”

Donald Trump may end up being the best friend Israel ever had in the Oval Office.  I certainly hope so.  But forgive me if I’m not ready to throw a party yet. I’ve heard this song before.

 

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Help me! I’m suffering from Anti-Trump Fatigue!

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It will be interesting to see how many people see the words Anti-Trump in the title and conclude that I am complaining about the President-elect’s victory and upcoming administration, when in reality I am doing just the opposite.

Don’t get me wrong.  I haven’t all of a sudden become a Trump supporter.  What I have become instead is tired.  Tired of continuously litigating the same things people chose to ignore before the election.  Tired of talking about his behavior, what he meant, what he tweeted and what is in his heart.

It’s safe to say that many of us who publicly shared an opinion about either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton before the election did so in the hope that something they would say would make a difference.  They hoped, albeit in most cases naively, that their words would either influence many or cascade into support behind their viewpoint and help elect their personal choice for president.  Now that the election is over there is no influencing anyone’s vote or impacting any outcome regardless of the popularity of the words written or spoken.  Now all it is to most people is a lot of hot air.

I’m not saying we don’t have a right or even the obligation to keep the next president and his administration honest, but do so moving forward.  Do so in assessment of his words or actions starting on January 21st.  Even if one makes the argument that it’s important to know who you elected, how do we know with any certainty that Donald Trump even showed us who that was?  I for one am far from convinced that the persona displayed in order to be elected is the man we are actually getting as the next president.  In fact, I dare say it’s possible that people like me, people leaning towards the left on many issues, might be pleasantly surprised by what comes next.  But if not, we need to deal with it then.

Not that I expect any credit from my right wing friends for telling the naysayers to keep quiet for now, but it is the first time in a long time I dare say that we see eye to eye on any issue other than Israel.  The question is, will they be tired of the combativeness just as I am, or will they continue down their favorite road of belittling those who have different ideas than they do?  If they truly feel as I do, they will have reached a point where the same criticism of the same people over and over feels like nothing more than an exhausting exercise in futility.

It’s time to move forward people.  Pay attention, speak out and be active if that is your choice, but move forward.  It’s better for everyone involved, and a lot less tiring.

 

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Open Letter to the American voter on the Eve of the Election

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Dear Fellow Americans,

Although many reading this may know where my vote is going, this letter is about something far more important than anyone’s personal choice for the next President of the United States.  On November 8, one of the cornerstones of American freedom and democracy takes center stage as the people go to the ballot boxes and choose their next Commander in Chief. There is no question that this day, a day that is always vital, is even more critical in 2016.  However, what possibly separates this election cycle from so many others is that as crucial as November 8th is, a very solid argument can be made that there is a day far more important, and that is the next day, November 9th.

Even many staunch supporters of Trump and Clinton feel that the country is in big trouble. Many feel that this election is an embarrassment.  The world has been watching and they love to say that we Americans have made fools of ourselves with our choices and our attacks on each other. Well I am here to say otherwise.  I am writing this letter to all Americans who genuinely want a better country. As critical as the choice is on November 8, and as uncertain as our future is, we as Americans have a choice that is even more critical than for who we cast our ballot.  That choice is whether or not we are prepared to work together as a nation in support of the next president.  That choice is to show the rest of the world who we really are, not who they like to believe us to be.

I know how the biggest critics feel about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  It’s been well-documented, highly publicized, and discussed ad-nauseum.  But on November 9th, assuming the election has a clear enough outcome to declare a winner, people all over the great United States have an opportunity to heal the nation.  To continue bashing the other side and sit back and type nasty comments online and come up with silly names about the candidate you didn’t want after the election, will just prove the naysayers right.  When the Supreme Leader of Iran uses this election to declare that America’s choices and behavior during this election proves Iran to be right, it is our responsibility to use November 9th to prove how wrong he actually is by showing how right the American system is.  Show the world that peaceful democracy and a free society creates dispute, but ends in peaceful coexistence.

I’m reminded of my father, may he rest in peace.  I won’t speak for my siblings, but in my case, when my father was vehemently opposed to one of my life choices he would push very hard to do things the way he felt I should do them.  Would he get mad at me if I wasn’t seeing it his way?  If the issue was important enough, most definitely. Would he make it very clear that he felt I was making a mistake? Unquestionably.  However, those times when I chose not to listen, once I made the choice, even if he was unhappy with my choice, he supported me in my decision.  Sometimes he was right, sometimes I was, but every time I came out loving him even more.  Why?  Because when it’s important enough to you and those you care about, you may show passion for your choice, but the true indication of love is to continue to show support whether or not someone listens to you or not and regardless of whether or not they share your passion.  I got that from my father.

On November 9th Americans have an opportunity to show their true love of country. Granted it will be easier for those on the side of the winner, but the opportunity exists nonetheless.  The winning side must be prepared to genuinely welcome the other in building and healing the country.  Although each side has different philosophies on how to move the country and the world forward, a totally one-sided agenda from the winning party’s candidate will alienate too many others who voted for the opposition, and nothing will be more important on November 9th than a country moving towards unity.

It is a common thing in life for people to blame their problems on others.  Humanity does that on an individual level and as a people.  The truth is that many problems can be resolved by doing what is right and working hard towards making things happen.  This election is no different.  As important as it is, upwards of at least 40% of the voting populous will not get the candidate they want. These people will be left with 2 choices. Continue to fight the opposition and set this country back decades with more infighting and obstruction, or join forces and find a middle ground most, if not all people can agree on.

There is a populous movement in this country.  This populism has taken form on both the conservative and liberal side of the aisle.  There are some fundamental disagreements on policies.  That being said the overall lesson to be learned by the populist movement is that the people are more involved than they have been in the past.  But involvement is not enough.  This involvement must coincide with responsibility, and that responsibility is towards the common good, something that can only be reached by working together and yes, supporting your next president regardless of who gets elected.

As easy and therapeutic as it will be to insult the President-elect if that person was not the one you voted for, like so many other things in life the right thing to do is not always the easy thing to do.  So it comes down to this.  I don’t care if you hate one candidate so much that the very though of them becoming the next president makes you sick to your stomach.  What I care about is the future of this country and the rest of the world, and regardless of who wins, for better or for worse we are far better off if we support our next president.  That is something I will do.  Not because I consider all options to be acceptable, but because the only way this works is if we get behind that president and grow together as a nation.  If we do not do that then all of this will have been for nothing.  To me that is far less acceptable than my candidate losing.

Fight for what you believe in.  Fight for what you feel is right.  But at the end of the day do what it right for your country, and that means supporting its leadership, even if it wasn’t the leadership you chose.  Tomorrow I will support my candidate. On Wednesday I will support the next President of the United States.

But first get up tomorrow I will do what I hope all of you will do.  I will get out and vote.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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Trump puts Democracy on Notice

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Whenever I make the case against Donald Trump, I am subject to a barrage of, “what about Hillary” comments. As a Jewish American and strong supporter of Israel I’ve often been asked by those who oppose Hillary Clinton how I can choose her over Donald Trump.  Even if I am to  accept that she is not a friend of Israel, something I do not necessarily accept and another discussion irrelevant to my point, my answer has always been as follows.  A weakened American democracy is something that puts the whole world in danger and is something far more perilous for Israel than a president that does not support her.

This is no longer about which candidate you prefer to win on November 8th.  This is now about the future of democracy in the United States of America.  It is dishonest and irresponsible to put Donald Trump’s answers in convenient vacuums.  When the Republican nominee for president indicated at the 3rd and final debate that he would decide after the election on November 8th whether or not he would accept the outcome, this was not an isolated answer.  This was an answer from a man who is pushing a populist movement based on discontent, scapegoating and anger.  This is an answer from a man who has mocked people from almost every ethnic group.  It’s a man who has fired up the extreme right wing of the country. In his answer about the importance of the Supreme Court he honed in on the 2nd Amendment while once “joking” about how supporters of the 2nd Amendment could take matters into their own hands in stopping Hillary Clinton. I take umbrage with the comparison of Trump to Hitler, simply because you can’t compare a man who makes volatile and irresponsible statements to a murderous dictator guilty of the murder of millions of people including the slaughter of 6 million Jewish men, women and children.  However,that being said, that doesn’t mean any of this is good for democracy. That doesn’t take away from from his glib suggestion that his supporters take out his major opposition.

Trump is a high stakes gambler.  He personally has very little to lose by his effort to be president.  The problem is he’s been playing with house money, which in this case means the future of the country.   The only way what Trump has done turns out to be good for the country is if he wins and does a phenomenal job.  Two things that are seen as highly unlikely to a large segment of the American population.  For argument sake however, let’s play this out.  Trump wins, appoints the best advisers, defeats ISIS, stabilizes the Middle East, strengthens relationships with our allies, and orchestrates an historic economic boom.  If this were to happen, not only would American democracy be strengthened, the Republican Party would survive their organizational catastrophe.  As an American, should the unexpected happen and Mr. Trump does win, I hope and pray it plays out this way. Problem is, I am quite certain it won’t.

Of course as most polls show, it is unlikely Donald Trump will win.  But even if we allow that to be considered as a possibility, the demeanor and temperament he has displayed throughout this campaign has to be concerning to anyone looking at this with a level head. I know his surrogates and ardent supporters will make excuses for everything he’s said and allegedly done, but that doesn’t change any of the facts.  Corey Lewandowski and Kayleigh Mcenany can spend all day saying “what Mr. Trump was saying is….”, but that will never actually change the candidate’s words.  And words hold power. Not everything can be blamed on political correctness and not being a typical politician.  Most significantly, telling a debate moderator that “I’ll keep you in suspense” as to whether or not he will accept the will of the people and respect the peaceful transfer of power has nothing to do with being a New Yorker or an anti-establishment candidate.  It has more to do with an inability to accept defeat as an option.  That happens to be quality I love in an athlete and to some extent see as a positive in a political figure, but that does not mean Mr. Trump’s inability to accept defeat supersedes the will of the American voter or a political system that has worked for 240 years.  And let’s be honest and say what is on everyone’s mind and is everyone’s ultimate concern.  Trump’s refusal to agree to accept the outcome until he sees what happens is just short of incitement to riot and undermines the very core of American democracy.  His supporters have already shown that he can say anything he wants and they will still listen to him.  What happens if he loses, claims the election is rigged, and tells his supporters to take to the streets in protest?  The United States of America may face a problem greater than any it has faced in its history.

How is that possible you may ask?  Simply put, even in the face of the greatest threats, the most incompetent leadership, or the greatest discontent of the populous, America has always been able to rest its head on one basic fact. It has, at least functioned on the perceived principal of democracy.  It’s impossible to give full credit to a nation that once considered slavery legal, but even then it was a country that respected its system.  That respect held it together and allowed it to grow from a place where black slaves helped build the White House to a place where a black man resides in it as President of the United States.  Politics aside, I believe any reasonable and decent person has to see the beauty in a system that allows for that kind of growth.

I fear that Donald Trump’s America has a danger of damaging that freedom to grow.  I don’t know what is in the man’s heart and what his true intentions are. There are people I like and respect who think he is doing this for selfless reasons.  Others believe he is doing this to attain the greatest power, either for personal benefit or at worse, anarchy and destruction.  I don’t know the answer, but I do know that his words have put a dent in our democracy greater than any put by any of our external foes, because the more Mr. Trump falls behind the more he pivots from challenging the establishment to challenging the system.  He does this in what appears to be an effort to mold the system to his liking and his benefit, something that terrifies many for one very important reason.  Even a system with a corrupt establishment within its ranks is better than a country running on one individual’s idea of what the system should be.  A system running the way only one person wants it to run is nothing short of a dictatorship.

This election has transcended Republican against Democrat, Conservative against Liberal, or Trump against Clinton.  This election is now a referendum on the democratic system that has held this country together for almost 2 and a half centuries, and regardless of the outcome, that is something that should concern and disturb many American citizens because it should never have gotten to this point in the first place. When this election is over, if the democracy remains in tact, the challenge of leadership, media and all concerned citizens is to find out why.  Otherwise it will only get worse.

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And my Vote goes to…

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MY CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT IS…

As the Democratic National Convention gets underway, we know one thing for sure. November will be historic.  The citizens of America will either elect a businessman from New York, a man with no formal experience in politics or, for the first time in the nation’s history, a woman as President of the United States.  There have been times in the past when the candidates of one of the parties was somewhat more obscure, or at the very least less high-profile, but this year without question, name recognition is not an issue. Everyone knows who Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are?  Or do they?

I don’t want to use this forum as a means of showing my support for one candidate by trashing the other, but in this election the majority of voters are at least somewhat impacted by that which they do not like about the other.  It’s very much about spin.  Take the most extreme supporter on either side and there is nothing the opposing candidate can do that will be seen as OK.  However, there is one glaring difference in my estimation. We can at least claim to know the worst there is to know about Hillary.  But what about Trump?  Somehow people have come to believe that a millionaire businessman, the owner of hotels, private jets and helicopters, is somehow a regular guy, a man of the people. They look at me with a straight face and say they won’t vote for Hillary because she is a liar or corrupt.They actually allow themselves to believe that Donald Trump has gotten to where he is out of sheer brilliance and hard work.  I won’t sit here and prosecute the case against him, but really?  If you believe that I have a great university you should attend. It will make you rich.

I know the criticisms against Hillary and I will openly admit that I don’t like everything about her, but do I have a far greater amount of confidence in her ability to lead this country in the right direction than Donald Trump?  Without question I do.  Was Benghazi a tragedy?  Of course it was.  Could things have been handled better? Maybe, probably, I don’t know. But I do know that under George W. Bush 13 embassies were attacked and 60 people were killed.  We’re America. We are hated by those who want to take what we have or change who we are.  We are targets and will remain targets as long as there is evil in the world.

I don’t like the Iran deal.  Never have, likely never will.  But even if I am to see it as a total attack on Israel, which I don’t necessarily do, I see it as President Obama’s deal not Hillary Clinton’s.  To say a Secretary of State is wrong for working towards the goals of her boss doesn’t make him or her complicit in the outcome of the goal, good or bad.  It makes them a loyal servant to the Commander in Chief.  I am also comfortable to go on record and say that in areas I disagree with the president, I believe him to be more someone trying to save the world, sometimes naively, rather than someone trying to bring anyone, including Israel, destruction.

Emails? Sorry. I am not even going to make a case as to why this is not enough reason for me to vote for Donald Trump over Hillary.

People say that Donald Trump is preying on the fears of the people.  That is partially true. Sadly I believe he is also exposing the stupidity of many.  I would never say that all people voting for Trump are stupid, many are highly intelligent, but I do believe he is counting on the vote of those that are stupid. If Hollywood made a movie, and the day after the Democratic National Convention started the Republican nominee’s best response to what he saw was calling the Democratic nominee Hillary “ROTTEN” Clinton, people would have assumed we were watching a Mel Brooks satire.  But no, this really happened, and it happened from someone people still take seriously.  Someone who made fun of Carly Fiorina’s face, likened Ben Carson to a child molester, called his opponents names like Little Marco and Lyin Ted, mocked a handicapped person, called Mexicans rapists, called for a ban of an entire religion, said John Mccain wasn’t a war  hero because he got caught, and yes, even spoke about the size of his penis. This man is somehow considered to be more qualified than Hillary Clinton?  Really?

As a Jewish man and a Zionist I say this.  Many reading this see history and see Roosevelt and Churchill as great men.  I won’t sit here and necessarily challenge that.  Had they not led the world to victory against Adolph Hitler it is possible that western civilization as we know it would not exist and all we know as Jews would be gone.  But before we judge people on a standard of perfection, or even good or bad, ask yourself how many Jews might have been saved had they destroyed the railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz and other concentration camps.  If FOX News were around then, FDR might have been held accountable to the point of prosecution, Thomas Dewey might have been elected, and Harry Truman would never have become president.  Who knows how World War II would have ended?  I am not saying FDR and Churchill were perfect or the biggest fans of the Jewish people, but their jobs were to be leaders of the US and Great Britain, and that they were, in exceptional manners.  We have every right to demand our leaders don’t hurt our cause, but we also must realize we are electing a President of the United States, not a president of the Jewish people, and we must therefore expect that president to do what they deem best for the country.  Furthermore, before Jewish supporters get all excited about a Trump presidency merely because his daughter converted and he speaks harshly about Muslims, keep these 2 things in mind.  When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Trump for his anti-Muslim rhetoric Trump punished him by cancelling his trip to Israel.  Also keep in mind how Trump plans to reconsider aide to our allies, including Israel.

The point is, no matter who you are or where you come from, whatever good you believe you are hearing about Donald Trump, he’s only telling you to get your vote.  Yes, you can say that about all politicians, but don’t tell me how different Donald Trump is from the establishment.  He funded the establishment, including the Clintons, for decades.

I don’t buy into the fact that a Hillary Clinton presidency will be 4 more years of an Obama presidency.  If anything I believe it is more likely to be closer to being 4 more years of a Bill Clinton presidency, and that would be just fine by me.  I honestly don’t know how good of a president Hillary would be, but I feel that her demeanor, her experience and her intellect is enough to make me very comfortable in giving her my vote.  I think her choice of Tim Kaine already shows she is making choices based on her agenda as opposed to the demands of others.  I think she is ready to be president today, as opposed to her candidate who will never be ready to be president.  Besides the fact that I’ve always been offended by the implication that America isn’t great, merely for the benefit of a slogan, I also know that Donald Trump couldn’t even make Atlantic City great again.

I know that many reading this find it hard to believe that I, someone who has always been so outspoken about the security of Israel could support Clinton over Trump, but guess what?  I find it hard to believe that you don’t.  You might be able to legitimately raise questions about her, but to me that doesn’t mean voting for Trump, someone who repeatedly shows signs of being a global menace.  I’ve seen and heard enough bad from Trump to not vote for him while seeing enough good to vote for Hillary, and that is what I intend to do.  What good you ask?  In this political climate don’t count on answer, because most people asking won’t accept my answer anyway.  You vote your conscience and I’ll vote mine and I’ll accept you for your choice whether you return the favor or not.  After all, that’s the American way.

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How Emotion has taken over Politics

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Let me start by putting all my Trump supporting “friends” at ease.  This is not a trash Trump post. It is also not a trash Hillary post. I won’t even be trashing Bernie, despite my serious issues with his policies towards Israel. Actually, hold that thought.  I take that back.  I might trash Bernie a little. You see, the point is that to many people it makes no difference what these politician’s policies actually are.  What ultimately matters is who we like.

I start with a bit of disclaimer.  A friend of mine who has been around for many election cycles and has met numerous politicians, candidates and even presidents over the years told me that every election he’s ever seen was decided by who people like more than by the candidate’s policies.  That being said, personally I’ve never seen anything like what we are witnessing this year.  It’s so bad that if Clinton and Trump would do exactly the same thing the reactions would be completely different based on who people like.  Trump knows it.  We all assume he was joking when he said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and his supporters would still support him, but we all now know this is true.  Of course I don’t believe for one second Trump would shoot someone on 5th Avenue, he’s more likely to take them out back and do it on Madison Avenue (just kidding), but those who support him wouldn’t care either way.

It’s not just Trump supporters by any means.  I’ve seen numerous discussions take place between staunch Conservatives and Hilary Clinton supporters, and when they ask them about the deaths of 4 Americans in Benghazi and hold her responsible, her supporters never come back with a factual response.  They either say it doesn’t matter, there was nothing she could do, or that they don’t care if she made a mistake, they still support her. I’m not discussing her culpability in the matter, and I am not saying whether there is or is not a factual response, but if you support her and that is your answer, it’s not about policy, it’s either about personality or habit.  By habit I mean voting for someone because they represent the party you stand behind and you could never vote differently no matter what your candidate says or does. But let’s be honest. If you didn’t sufficiently like the candidate, that would most likely trump (pun intended) your usual habit.

A friend of mine in the sales world once said, “people buy with emotion, then justify it with logic”.  It would appear most Americans vote the same way.  Case in point, here are some of the most common terms of the day

“I love Trump”

“I hate Hilary”

“I hate Trump”

“Feel the Bern”

“I love Hilary”

“Trump scares me”

“I like Trump”

“I like Hilary”

“I like Bernie”

These 9 terms are indicative of what drives a large portion of the American electorate as  we sit here today May 18, 2016.  Don’t believe me?  Watch “Waters World” on the “O’Reilly Factor” just one time and you’ll see how a large percentage of people who choose the president think (using the word think very loosely).  And those are just the dumb ones. Want to hear a smart person sound really stupid? Turn on CNN and listen to Kayleigh Mcenany, Georgetown graduate who studied politics at Oxford University and Donald Trump surrogate. Surrogate is different than supporter. Supporters don’t need to sound smart, surrogates do.  The best way to describe Kayleigh Mcenany’s support for Donald Trump is to imagine him tweeting something to the effect of, Kayleigh Mcenany is an ugly cow (I use that as an hypothetical because she’s actually quite attractive).  I am fairly convinced that her response would be something like this.  I believe what Mr. Trump was trying to say was that he loves his wife Melania very much and that she is the most beautiful woman in the world.

You see, in this election cycle it doesn’t matter to the people what you say or what you’ve been accused of doing, all that matters is if you like them.  I’ve heard people who love Israel say they like Bernie Sanders in the same sentence.  Why? Because he’s a charismatic old dude from Brooklyn and they like him. It certainly can’t be because of his approach towards Israel, an approach that could facilitate its destruction. Then again, why listen to me.  I’m just saying that because “I hate Bernie”.  I’d add that to the list but it’s not a prevailing emotion. Most either like him or don’t take him seriously. I as a Jew and a Zionist feel strongly about him because of a stated policy approach.

Since I have my moments when I both like and don’t like Trump and Hilary, I’ll leave my personal feelings (other than my disapproval for Bernie) out of this.   I will say this in defense of everyone, myself included that base their support or lack of support on emotion.  There’s nothing wrong with voting for someone who makes you feel good about life, the future, and the country you love, or at least like.  Just admit it.  Don’t try so hard to pretend it’s because of policy when we all know that most candidates main policy issue anyway is just getting themselves elected.  Pick who you like, hold your breath, and hope you’re right.  And while you’re at it don’t insult someone who likes something or someone different than you do, because there is no right and wrong when it comes to what someone likes.  That would be like someone telling you they like Pizza and responding “your wrong”. Those of you who will say that is very different may be in that minority that does pick a candidate based on policy or claims to because they are justifying their emotional choice with logic, but let’s face the facts.  Elections are popularity contests, not referendums on judgment and experience.  And my friend is probably right.  It’s probably always been that way.

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