Monday, February 29, 2016

Pitchers, Stones, and Mussolini

Tonight is erev caucus. I am going over to Sibley tomorrow to execute my duty as a citizen of these here United States. This is not a choice year. Everyone who is able to get to a caucus needs to be there. Without exception. If you're in a primary state, you should be planning to vote. This year is a watershed year and you don't need me to tell you that. You'd have to be living under a rock not to know.

Friday night, sitting at Shabbat dinner, I said it was time to have a Plan B. The junior son said that was the single most unpatriotic thing I could possibly say. He was annoyed that I even would think such a thing. But I do. I think we need a plan B. 

In 1923, the Munich Beer Hall Putsch happened. This was a failed coup attempt spearheaded by Adolf Hitler and his cronies. He was arrested and jailed. And while he was jailed, he wrote Mein Kampf.  No one fully understood what had happened over the course of two days in November 1923, but hindsight, being so wonderful a condition, lets us wonder why no one took the putsch seriously. Or, perhaps the better question is, why didn't we Jews take it more seriously? The seeds were there, and they were sown; it was only a matter of time before they were growing.

Over the course of the last few days, we've watched a Republican debate that looked more like elementary school children arguing over kickball teams. Donald Trump's biggest asset is his ability to talker louder and more viciously over everyone else. His words are completely void of reason, they encourage violence against groups and individuals alike, and the are patently not true. Polifact rated his lies-to-truth ratio at something akin to 75% bullshit. That's a whole lotta bullshit. Despicable Cruz is resoundingly hated by past and present colleagues, and why is increasingly apparent. Rubio is picking up steam, but I think that's because he comes off as the least stupid of the pack, which isn't saying much on brain power. And good ol' Ben Carson keeps begging someone, anyone to attack him so he can talk. 

As of right this very minute, Trump has a significant lead:

Granted we're talking about less than 50% of the GOP poll respondents. But if this doesn't scare you, it should. Can you imagine any one of those yahoos standing in front of the United Nations or the G-8 delivering an address in a crisis moment? Hell's bells, they can't even talk to each other respectfully. None of them, as demonstrated in the debates, could pass kindergarten. Not one demonstrates the ability to work and play well with others. The amount of disrespect on that stage was a fearsome sight to behold. If that doesn't scare you, you have other issues. 

So here's another scary part. Trump is ahead in the polls, which makes him more blustery and blowhardiful. The more support he gathers, the more ridiculous his statements become. And his team doesn't have the brains to vet anything before they put it up on social media. Case in point, the Mussolini meme. These guys are so inept Gawker can manipulate them. Come on, people. Really? You're that stupid that you don't know how to Google stuff before you put it out there? They re-tweeted something from a twitter account called ILDUCE2016. That is not exactly subtle. But Trump's people like Il Duce and re-tweeted one of the more famous Mussolini quotes. Hey! I am not the accuracy police, but my friends know I Google damn near everything and shout out "bullshit!" on a pretty regular basis. And not everyone likes that. Hmmmm. Truth or asshole. Take your pick.

Trump may win the nomination, and may win the election, G-d forbid! This is not completely crazy talk no matter how much you believe it can't/won't happen. It can. And if it's Cruz or Rubio, don't expect it to be much different. They are both purveyors of sinat chinam....baseless hatred against anyone unlike themselves. They both have a very different reality in mind for this country.

There really are choices to be made and Plan B alternatives to be considered. If you don't have a passport, get one. They're good for 10 years and even if you don't use it for Plan B, who knows? Someone might invite you to go to Italy on the spur of the moment. You can't go if you don't have a passport. But more importantly, if you decide to leave, you can do it efficiently and on your own schedule.

This is not unpatriotic. This is learning the lessons of pre-war Europe and making sure it's not repeated. No matter what you think about ethnic groups, I guarantee that Jews will be caught in the middle. That ground work is already being laid with BDS and the attempts to demonize Jews on college campi all over America. That groundwork is being laid with the endorsements of Donald Trump by guys like David Duke and the KKK contingent. That groundwork is being laid in the polarization of the media. Not to worry; after they go after the Muslims in this country, they will come after the Jews. We're smart enough not to wait for the next Kristallnacht. Be prepared. That's all.

Meanwhile, I remain on the fence between Bernie and Hillary. And I will tell you that, in all honesty, I can go either way. I have my reservations about both, but can vote for either. I would be perfectly comfortable with either in an international crisis. But if the truth be known, I would be more comfortable with Bernie on domestic issues and Hillary for international. At least there is a choice on the Democratic side. There is no viable choice on the GOP side, not even Kasich and his army of women coming out of the kitchen to vote for him.

Not exercising your right to participate in this process dooms not just you to the government you deserve, but us as well. If you choose not to participate because you don't like the choices, think about what you're going to do in the voting booth come November. Thinking about staying home then, too? Maybe your best option is to get that passport and move to someplace without any elections at all. Then you won't have to condemn everyone else living with to your lack of interest.

Wifely Person' s Tip o'the Week
Si da el Cántaro en la piedra, ó la piedra en el cántaro, mal para el cántaro.
Miguel de Cervantes
for those without classical Spanish translators:
Whether the pitcher hits the stone, or the stone hits the pitcher,
it's bad for the pitcher. 


  1. Don't know if you saw this, but I'm sorry -- I do not trust Hillary Clinton on international policy:

    It's just too "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" for my taste. If I were in the middle trying to decide, that would do it for me. I'm sorry, but I just do not feel I can trust her. I don't believe any of her recent faux-Bernie campaign rhetoric. Is Sanders a risk? You bet he is. But I would prefer a risk of good intentions to a risk of political ambition. Your mileage may vary, of course.

  2. I, have often asked myself how 1933 could have happened. We know what happened. We know the reasons why. But how could a majority of people in country at the pinnacle of civilization turn on itself so suddenly? Now we know.

  3. Not doing too well translating your Yip:

    "If it gives the pitcher in stone, or the stone crock, poorly for crock."

    Say what?

    1. If the pitcher hits the stone, or the stone hits the pitcher, it's gonna be bad for the pitcher.

  4. I'm British and we're all following the Republican nominations frankly in disbelief.

    It seems most people don't learn from history, if Trump is anything to go by. But I think your Plan B is a sensible one. I hope you won't need it.

    1. I hope not, but one cannot be complacent, either.