Thursday, October 27, 2016

Election Immersion

I have not been posting much this month.  In addition to work related items I have become immersed in the election contemplating various scenarios. I count electoral votes like a miser counts personal funds--hour by hour or nearly.

My concerns about the election are visceral in that I worry, truly, about the residual effects of a Trump presidency.  I believe the stock market would tank after an initial burst upwards.  I think the US position in the world will be reduced and render us more vulnerable.

I know some people who are voting for Trump, not many, but some. And those are doing so either because of an aversion to the Democratic nominee or because of an allegiance to the Republican party. I personally do not know anyone voting for Trump because they think he would be a good leader. I know there are people out there who do feel this way, but I do not know them.

Some comments about Trump's candidacy and his campaign.

  • The worst thing he has said, the comment that somehow did not torpedo him but should have, is that Senator John McCain was not a war hero and that he became a war hero because he got caught.  Trump said he likes people who do not get caught.  What does that make the dead? Are they the ultimate non heroes because they were caught for good.  
  • Trump's pussy comments and then explanation of the pussy comments are not to be believed. I played basketball for three years in high school (never, alas, on the varsity) and one year in college. I played intramural basketball forever and work out five times a week still.  I was a member of a fraternity and lived in a freshman dormitory where braggarts held court discussing their prowess.  And I have never ever heard anybody comment like that about women.  I have heard men use coarse language of course. And I have heard men speak about their ability to woo women such that they were eager to engage.  But I never heard anyone talk about grabbing women under the assumption that these fellows were so powerful or alluring that such grabbing was okay, condonable, or welcome.  If we heard of anyone speaking like this--even the raunchiest of the raunchy--would consider the braggart crazy in the head.
  • Trump's comments about the handicapped man is something that, amazingly, did not put the kibosh on his candidacy right there and then.
  • The announcement of "extreme vetting" whatever that means and that any Moslem would be prohibited from entering the country is anti-American and mind bogglingly so.
  • His foundational idea that he would build a wall and force Mexico to pay for it---is there a word that transcends fakakt?  
  • The man LOST close to a billion dollars in one year, and has not been taken down as a bad businessman.  Trump Vodka, Steaks, Airlines, Casino--all were losers.  Why would we want to put, say Social Security, or any part of our treasury at risk? 
  • His invitation to a long time adversary to hack our computers is nothing short of treasonous.
  • His support for Newt Gingrich after Gingrich's condescending chauvinistic put down of Megyn Kelly is beyond the pale.  Trump's own comments about Megyn Kelly are beyond the pale.
  • There is nothing more central to democracy than the notion that our elections are on the up and up.  This whining, "the election is rigged" narrative is as unAmerican as palling with Putin.
There's more, but I will stop here. I hope the polls are correct. My prediction is that if he does lose, Trump will not be the champion of the disenfranchised. He will become a pariah within the Republican party and his own party members will initiate criminal charges on Trump University, the hacking of computers, and threats to challenge the health of candidates in office and those running for office.

P.S. The good news is that this is the only time of the year that all four major sports are in regular season action at the same time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Best wishes

I reread yesterday a blog I posted on Yom Kippur a number of years back.  I titled it, "There was Soap."

I liked what I reread, but am/was not sure how I could write anything more distinctive today, Yom Kippur the main day of introspection for those in the tribe.

"There was Soap" refers to a key passage in the book, Love in the Time of Cholera.  Essentially, it refers to unconditional forgiveness.--forgiving even when one has not earned forgiveness.  If you are so inclined to read the blog again, you will see that I make the point that sometimes such forgiveness extends to forgiving ourselves--even when we have not earned it.  This assumes that the residual of the day's introspection is a commitment to not continuing to do what required forgiving.

This virtue of forgiveness was put to the test within the last hour.  I wanted to check and see what time the shofar is blown this evening.  On this day the blowing of the shofar marks the end of the fast and the time when the services are over.

So I went on line and typed in what one would type in to find the time.  As is the case with everything now that you could possibly want to know, the googling resulted in several hits.  I clicked on a couple until I found the one which indicated when, in Boston, the shofar would be blown.  When I scrolled to the bottom of the page, I was taken aback by a one word comment from someone who, for who knows what reason, had paid a visit to the site.

The one word comment from, go figure, "anonymous" was KIKES.

I am not a religious person.  I believe, as my father was wont to say--to the irritation of my mother--that the problem with the services in temple is that there is too much "god" in them.  This quip drove my mother mad, but I think it makes sense.  I believe that monotheism does not mean that there is one "god" so much as one right. That is, there are things about how to conduct our lives that are incontrovertibly right. It is right to be kind to others, right to be sensitive to others, to not steal and kill.  And it is our job as humans to try and do what is right, live within the confines of a moral conscience.

So if I don't believe in god, then why do I observe the holy days.

One reason is that I like the feeling on particular days of knowing that throughout the whole world, Jews are saying the exact same prayers as I am.  If you were in Peru last night and went to temple, you would have been chanting Kol Nidre.  

A second reason is to stand up to the misanthropes who write Kikes.  I like to go to a temple and say to these sorts, "Right here, buster, right now.  Lot of good your Kike writing is doing.  I'm still here."

A third reason is that when I go on high holy days it sometimes sets me straight.  During the holy days there is a moratorium on your routine, a routine which can sometimes bump me off the line of living as I think one ought to.

So, Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous who wrote Kikes on the website--let me tell you what I am going to do. In a few moments, I am going to take a shower, put on a suit, grab the tallis bag that my grandfather bought for me in 1962, and go to a service. During it--and all day until they blow the shofar--I will try and remind myself that I cannot become like you.   And I will send you my best wishes towards an awakening for yourself.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

l'shana tovah

Tonight at sundown begins the new year for those in my tribe. 5777.

I saw in the New York Times today that there were several advertisers that wished its readers, l'shana tova.  A good year.

I'm reluctant to employ the slogan of a political candidate to whom I have no allegiance. However, a challenge to all is tikkun olam which, in the vernacular of today's politics, can be translated as "Let's make the world great again."

What can one do toward that end?

Nothing profound here in terms of the recipe. Work to love yourself and be the person you want to be so that loving yourself comes naturally.   And love, as a verb, those you love, as a noun, and be loving toward everyone in y/our orbit.

Rosh Hashanah (the word rosh literally means "Head", shanah means "Year") is an opportunity to be introspective, a time to take a look at what is what, and get on track to where you want to go.

Happy new year to those who celebrate and observe this time.