Tag Archives: Republican Party

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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Open Letter to Bill O’Reilly Regarding Media Involvement in Trump’s success

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Dear Bill,

I happen to be a fan of yours.  I watch your show often, find you engaging, informative and have a great admiration for your intelligence.  Normally I find you to be true to your word about being fair and balanced.  However in a recent discussion on your show in which you discussed the impact the media has had on the rise of Donald Trump I felt you did the one thing you normally do not do, you spun the story to benefit your position. Normally the manner in which you stay clear of that trap distinguishes you significantly from anyone else that comes close to your level of success.  In this matter however I fee that you failed tremendously, and here is why.

I find it unlikely you will read this, even less likely you will respond and next to impossible that my concerns will reach anyone beyond your organization or your show for that matter, but seeing as this is indeed a story I agree to be as significant as you maintain it to be, I felt it important to reach out to you.  You may indeed be entirely correct regarding some of your assertions of your lack of involvement in the promotion of Donald Trump.  I believe you when you say you have made unsuccessful attempts at getting other candidates on your show and I accept your argument that your job is to report the news and that Donald Trump makes news.  But what about the rest of the media, be it FOX ,CNN or others?  After last week’s primaries in Pennsylvania, my brother Marcel Groen, State Party Chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party was scheduled to appear on FOX Business with Neil Cavuto.  He waited for about an hour before he had to go back to attend to his responsibilities and commitments.  Why? Because almost every single guest that came on, some that appeared to not be originally scheduled, came on to speak about Donald Trump, pushing Neil Cavuto way over his schedule.   I understand that FOX is a network far more in sync with the Republican Party, but there was more news that night than Donald Trump.   I realize in fairness that what happened the day of the Pennsylvania primaries can not be directly seen as helping the rise of Donald Trump to that point, but it certainly did represent what has been going on for quite some time.  Also let me make something clear.  This is not about me being disappointed that my brother did not appear on air that night.  I am quite certain he got over it immediately as did I and anyone else who wanted to see him. However, it does clearly show how the coverage is driven by the Trump phenomena over everything else.

And it is hardly just FOX who is to blame. CNN has their very own Trump surrogate, Kayleigh Mcenany at almost every political discussion.  What other candidate can we say that about?  It often seemed that when there were Trump surrogates at most of these discussions, they were countered more with anti-Trump voices than with surrogates for Cruz or Kasich.

The media may not want to accept responsibility, but it has a responsibility nonetheless. For months all we heard about John Kasich was how he was the most qualified of any candidate. Yet since he was not exciting enough, and therefore might not have generated the same ratings, the percentage of time he was covered compared to Donald Trump and even Ted Cruz was catastrophic to his candidacy.  And Bill, regardless of whether or not the other candidates accept your invitation to be on your show, did you not have some responsibility to cover their activities in a more proportionate manner?  Your answer may very well be that you did not have that responsibility and that would certainly be within your rights. After all, as you often say, it is your show, you have been number 1 for a long time and you know what you are doing.  I just think it would be have been more fair and balanced to an audience possibly making the most important choice of its lifetime if you had accepted that responsibility.  Most of all it would have been far more honest if you would have come clean and admit it’s all about ratings rather than say the media did not play a significant role.

I have heard the argument that has been made about how so much of the negative press about Donald Trump also comes from the media.  That immediately made me remember one of my best friends from my High School days in London who once told me, “I don’t really care if people love me or hate me, as long as they talk about me”. Donald Trump has benefited from this excessive coverage from the start, be it good or bad.  But Bill, I ask you to consider the following analogy.  When a fan rushes on to a baseball field, television no longer shows the fan in realization that in doing so the allure of rushing the field has been significantly diminished.  Who knows what might have happened for example if the media had reacted comparably to Donald Trump saying that John McCain was not a war hero because he got caught.  The Trump campaign may never have gotten to where it is today.

All this being said I will continue to watch because I do respect you and enjoy your show, even if I do feel that regarding this topic you have been much less truthful than you normally are, not just to your audience but possibly to yourself as well.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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The Political Front Whiners

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Be honest.  When the dirty player is on your team you tend to look past the dirty tactics. You may occasionally make a veiled attempt at objectivity, but even when you do, you do it with a mischievous grin.  After all, a few fouls here and there are OK if the player has the skill to back it up.  Especially if that skill translates into a victory for your team. All the discussions and debates taking place within both parties regarding the presidential nomination process are really no different.  Contested convention? Just fine if you don’t want to see Trump be the Republican nominee.  Super Delegates? Thank the Lord they’re out there if you’re a Hillary Clinton supporter or feeling the Bern is something you would otherwise equate with the need for penicillin.

It’s the hottest thing, everyone’s talking about it.  Those would be the words Donald Trump might, and probably has used to describe the discussion taking place about the possibility of a Contested or Brokered Republican Convention.  Of course as the front runner, and the candidate almost assured at going into the Convention in Cleveland with the most delegates, Trump and his supporters are already crying foul  at the prospect of anything other than his coronation as the nominee.  Problem is, not only is no one breaking any laws, unlike the athlete that does commit a foul, no one is even breaking the rules that exist within the private institution that is the Republican Party.

Same thing with the Democrats.  Although there are many Bernie Sanders supporters getting increasingly exuberant in their argument that foul play is going on, like it or not the Super Delegates have every right to pick whomever they want as their candidate.   In fact, the Democratic Party put these rules in place just for the purpose of stopping an  insurgent candidate like Sanders from getting the nomination.  Does it make Bernie and his people happy?  No.  Is it against the law or against the rules of the Democratic Party?  The answer to that is also a big no.

So then the next obvious question is, is this process fair?  That is when it becomes subjective.  First of all, out of the 5 candidates remaining in the process, the 2 crying foul are the ones with the most to lose, so to speak.  I say so to speak because to lose something you actually had to have had it in the first place.  Neither Donald Trump nor Bernie Sanders have their party’s nomination at this point, so to say it would be lost in either scenario is a misnomer.  The bigger question, and the one that is far more of a sensitive issue, is whether or not those who make the choice of voting for either Trump or Sanders are being disenfranchised by the process.  The way I heard one commentator describe it, and I am paraphrasing, “thanks for participating, now we’ll make the decision as to which candidate we want representing our party”.

But not so fast.  The point that people seem to be conveniently glossing over is that the only way either of these scenarios become relevant is if the people do not choose their candidate through the structured process, and like it or not the process is structured. If Donald Trump gets 1,237 delegates all talk of a Contested Convention will be over, and if Bernie Sanders is so far behind Hillary that he can only win with the Super Delegates, the nomination would actually be stolen if it were to be altered, just from Hillary rather than Bernie.

I guess if right now you like Trump or Sanders, it seems very unfair, but should they win, either through the process you hate so much or just by getting more delegates, all will be forgiven.  The reality is that the processes are what the processes are, and regardless of who gains benefit from those processes, the organizations that set them up, otherwise known as the Republican and Democratic Party, have every legal right to see them to fruition.  As long as they are willing to accept the consequences they face should many of their members feel betrayed by that process.  I guess if that happens the winning candidate will have their first real test in leadership, a test that may just decide whether or not they win the general election.

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Something (it rhymes with Mitt)just got real and it’s all the Kardashian’s fault

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In an unprecedented action in American politics, the Republican nominee from the last election spoke about the inadequacies of the Republican front-runner in this election. Mitt Romney spoke today on national television to make the case against Donald Trump.  He referred to Trump as a “phony” and a “fraud”.  Trump fired back, calling Romney a “failed candidate”.  Is it possible they’re both right?  Could the nation be anymore divided?  Is all of this making it almost a certainty that a year from now we will have a second President Clinton?  It’s not a stretch to imagine the answer is yes to all of these questions.  The biggest question is, what has happened to the United States of America?

I blame the Kardashians more than anyone else.  Well sort of.  I’m kidding to some extent, but let’s face it.  We now live in a reality TV culture.  Whether it is scripted or not, people like watching a show that pretends to be real life.  Personally I prefer comedies and dramatic TV shows I know to be rehearsed fiction. The culture of the Kadashians has lead us to a fascination in all that is Reality TV.  Donald Trump, king of all apprentices, is as much part of the Reality TV culture as anyone else.  As a matter of fact, “The Donald” was somewhat off the radar till he became a hit again by declaring to many unfortunates, “You’re fired!”.  Now he is running for president, putting on a show, and the American people, myself included, are engrossed by the entertainment of it all.  I can pretend to be above the fray, but the truth is I’m excited about tonight’s debate.  Not like I would be about a fascinating documentary, but more like I would be about an ice hockey game between two teams with bad blood.  Why? Because I know there will be a fight.  As a matter of fact, this election cycle is looking more and like the WWE or the WWF or whatever the most popular wrestling organization calls itself right now.  Wait, I just remembered what they call themselves.  The Republican Party.

This falls very much into the category of, if it wasn’t so tragic it would be funny.  You have John Kasich, a decent man, with strong credentials and adult behavior languishing at the bottom of the pack not because he doesn’t have a good message, but because compared to “The Donald”, Cruz Control, and Groucho Rubio, the Governor of Ohio is just too plain boring.  Meanwhile, Dennis Miller, someone who I seem to remember as once being funny, thinks he’s a rip when he says, “If the ballot is between Hillary or Anyone but Hillary, my vote goes to Anyone but Hillary.” I get it Dennis, you hate her and you think you’re still funny.

The unfortunate and very frightening thing about all of this is, that as we enter a time when our leadership may be more important than ever before, and our enemies will do everything they can to see us flounder, we are most likely going to have a president too hated by too many people for anything good to get done.  People need to realize, and realize fast, that when watching the Kardashians, if what you see goes all wrong, only one family suffers.  If however we translate that mentality to presidential politics, millions of families will suffer.  Is it worth all this “entertainment”?  I think we all know the answer to that one.

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The Impact of ISIS on American Politics

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Like it or not, ISIS is influencing the American electorate. It would appear that the horrific terrorists attacks in Paris had an effect on much of the country not felt after any of the many and equally horrific terrorist attacks in Israel. Suddenly the dialogue changed from attacks on “those people over there” to an “attack on us and our way of life”.

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe Americans to be good people.  I am proud to be one. When they do hear about terrorist attacks in Israel, a large percentage are for the most part supportive and compassionate.  But there in lies the first problem.  When an Israeli citizen gets gunned down or stabbed it’s not given the same significant coverage by many of the news outlets. Last week when 18 year old Ezra Schwartz, an American, was killed in a terrorist attack in Israel, CNN still headlining with the search for one of the Paris attackers, listed the other top stories on the bottom left of its website.  The terrorist attack in Israel and Ezra’s death was one story down from Carly Simon’s revelation that Warren Beatty was the subject of her 70’s hit “You’re so Vain”.   Hard to blame the average citizen if as a result many do not even know who Ezra Schwartz is.

Ironically the murder of Ezra, an American citizen would by itself not have done much to influence the average person nor most of the presidential candidates, but since the attacks in Paris national security and the war on terror have now become that issue the candidates clearly deem as the one they are choosing to exploit to get elected.

Forgive me if I seem cynical, but prior to the attacks in Paris the only Republican candidate I heard make mention of Israel in the previous debate was Ted Cruz.  Granted I didn’t watch the entire debate, and I am not saying there aren’t others who clearly support Israel; Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush clearly have shown a tendency towards friendship towards the Jewish state;  but in this particular debate it was only Ted Cruz who appeared to make a point of the importance of the relationship between the 2 countries. All candidates expressed the importance of stopping ISIS, but since no one in either the Republican or Democratic field is a supporter of terrorism, I would expect nothing less.  What did strike me is that until Paris, no one seemed to be making it clear how important of a fight the fight against ISIS really is. Now all of that has changed.

With the threat of ISIS finally being taken as seriously as it should have been at least a year ago, presidential hopefuls are doing their best to impress the American electorate with their tough words and strategies.  The impact it seems to be having on the American people is when presented with a choice between a more mild-mannered intellectual approach or a loud bombastic aggressive approach, the polls suggest the people prefer the latter.  Henceforth the increasing popularity of Donald Trump.

I actually think the reaction of the people is just another example of what makes the United States of America such a great country.  In previous times when a global power was faced with bad economic times and the threat of an aggressor looking to destroy its country and kill its people, the backlash lead to vicious dictatorships and the murder of countless numbers of innocent people.  In America our backlash is Donald Trump. Might not be my first choice, but in today’s political climate worse things could happen.

The big question is, do any of the candidates on both sides of the political aisle have what it takes to defeat this global threat?  Loud words and exuberant proclamations may get someone elected, but when push comes to shove the actions taken and decisions made by the next president may very well determine the future of the entire civilized world.  With the increased attacks and ongoing threat from ISIS, it would appear that the Islamic State has, willingly or unwillingly, impacted how we choose to shape that future.  Hopefully the choice we make will be in our favor not theirs.

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The President, My Brother, and The Book Jew Face

marcelObI sometimes think, if only my book would get into the hands of someone important, someone with some influence.  The benefit it would have to its exposure would potentially be tremendous.  How about……the President of the United State of America?

Thanks to my brother Marcel, President Barack Obama now owns a copy of Jew Face.  Marcel is the Chairman of the Democratic Party in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and a member of the Democratic National Committee.  With Pittsburgh  traditionally voting Republican, and Philadelphia traditionally voting Democrat, Montgomery County, the third largest county in the state usually determines which candidate carries the state.  Having once again been instrumental in carrying Montgomery County for the Democratic Party, Marcel has met the President a number of times and this past Friday had the privilege of a personal meeting.  During this meeting he gave a copy of the book Jew Face to the president.  What happens now?  I certainly don’t know, but I do feel honored that the president now owns a copy of something I have written and a tremendous gratitude to my oldest brother for respecting and appreciating my work to the extent that he was comfortable giving a copy to the leader of the free world.

This is not a political post.  I am hopeful that no one reading this chooses to turn it into one.  And if you want to own a copy of the book that is now owned by the President of the United States, please CLICK HERE.  And to show my gratitude I present you with an excerpt from the book that speaks of the birth of my brother, Marcel Lubertus Groen.

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Excerpt from Jew Face:

 After the birth of her son, the miracle that so often looked like it would never ever happen, Sipora gave the little baby two names: Marcel, after her father, the man to give her life, and Lubertus, after Bertus te Kiefte, who, other than Nardus, was the man most instrumental in helping her to keep that life.  Marcel Lubertus had been created by Sipora and the man who empowered her, saved her from death’s grasp, and loved her even through times when love was so overshadowed by death and evil.

 The circumstances were less than ideal, and their lives were filled with questions yet to be answered, but as Sipora lay there with Marcel in her arms, it almost felt like God was making a statement, a statement that even with the forces of evil at their most powerful, good will survive, love will prevail, and life would go on.

When Thea had been born to David and Martha Groen, it was a symbol of life in the midst of horror and devastation; the symbol held a beauty and power that made it unique. When Marcel came into the world, he would be a symbol of even greater significance.  What was once the bright light of a great world of Dutch and European Jewry had been diminished to a mere glimmer, and a strong powerful fire of life had been reduced in so many places to mere ashes. And now despite all of that, there remained hope. The flickering light of what remained in Nardus Groen and Sipora Rodrigues’s life had now turned into this bright, new, and strong flame. The light that was their son Marcel.

 This significance would carry a burden, but it would carry an even greater importance and virtue. It would take an almost extinguished light, an almost destroyed world, and turn it into a strong flame, building not one but many new worlds in the years to come.  On this day, as Sipora looked at her son, it did not matter that Nardus was not here. It would not have even mattered anymore if she had been here. What only mattered today was that this baby was here. And whether she was right or wrong for feeling this way, Sipora felt like this was the reason she had survived, and this would now be her reason for wanting to survive.