I always take notes on my next novel and short story while working on my current project. But a theme for this week’s post challenged me. Yet stimuli abound. So I’ll share some thoughts.
As I write, Democrats have yet to pass the classic infrastructure bill linked to “human infrastructure” legislation to help American workers and families, and address climate change. Democratic senators Joe Manchin (W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) insist on budgets far lower than those proposed by progressives. New taxes to pay for programs? Also no. Forget proposed taxes on billionaires, which can be taken as confiscatory. They nix marginally higher rates for people who make over $400,000. I wonder who fills Manchin’s and Sinema’s campaign pockets.
And what’s up with progressives? Like Manchin and Sinema, they view “compromise” as a four-letter word. It numbers ten. Progressive refusal until the last moment to find common ground—I also attribute guilt to the two senators mentioned—offers another example of how easily righteousness can become self-righteousness, sweet victory bitter defeat.
Am I concerned about how the Democrats look? Yes. In Virginia, Terry McAuliffe is neck-and-neck with Republican Glenn Youngkin in the governor’s race. In 2020, Virginia went for Biden by ten points. But the Big Lie, our less-than-elegant withdrawal from Afghanistan (Biden didn’t have a plan; Trump approved the Doha deal with the Taliban but also never developed one) and stalled Congressional legislation could defeat McAuliffe. Republicans would gain momentum to take back both houses of Congress in 2022.
Talking about Republicans, CNN’s Dana Bash says that all of the Congressional Republicans she’s spoken with—a lot; Congress is her beat—privately agree that Biden won the election. But they face enormous pressure from their constituents, who accept the Big Lie. Publicly, they switch the issue to “election integrity.” The people’s representatives feel compelled to throw American democracy under the bus to save it.
On another issue, an article in the Jerusalem Post stated that one in four American Jews alters their behavior in the face of antisemitism. That can include not identifying oneself as Jewish or no longer publicly wearing a kippah (yarmulke) or Star of David, Chai (the Hebrew letters chet-yud spell “life”) or mezuzah.
The 2017 Unite the Right march in Charlottesville, Virginia, fatal synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and San Diego (Poway) and numerous physical attacks on Jews in New York and Los Angeles, give Jews reasons to feel unsafe. So does the demonization not just of Israel but also of Jews on college campuses.
My synagogue, like many others, employs a security guard for Shabbat services. Large High Holy Day crowds bring out expanded private security plus San Francisco police. Your average church white doesn’t need these precautions.
I’ve seldom experienced antisemitic comments, and those some years ago. Many came from my wife’s family. Others were casual remarks from clients and a co-worker’s relative. They were dealt with. Still, negative attitudes toward Jews remain “out there.”
Finally, a New York Times article proposed, “Why ‘Evangelical’ is Becoming Another Word for ‘Republican’.” Has the nation lost its last pretense of sanity?
But sane voices remain. Read the New York Times’ columnist Nicholas Kristoff’s farewell column.
So, I’ll take a check on writers block. And I know what I’ll write about next week. I think.
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