Wednesday, June 7th | 18 Sivan 5783

April 4, 2016 6:53 am

Trump Has Caused Wounds That It May Be Too Late to Heal

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avatar by Chaim Landau

Donald Trump during a debate. Photo: Screenshot.

Donald Trump during a debate. Photo: Screenshot.

An old Jewish story is particularly apt in assessing the recent political rise of Donald Trump.

In the story, a disgruntled member of a village goes around bad-mouthing the rabbi with whom he argued on a point of law, and lost. The rabbi responds with disciplined silence. The day before Yom Kippur, the individual comes to the rabbi seeking forgiveness. The rabbi agrees, but on one condition: that the man goes to the highest point of the village, cuts a pillow open and releases all the feathers. The man does so. Then the rabbi tells him to collect all the feathers that he has released. The man says that it would be impossible to collect all of the feathers, since the wind would have dispersed them throughout the entire village, and beyond. “And that” responds the rabbi, “is why it is difficult for me to forgive you; because your verbal insults have traveled to the farthest corners of our town, and can never be taken back.”

Now look at Donald Trump. His outrageous and unacceptable behavior and statements have caused many casualties and wounds that may never heal. His pronouncements have tried to deliberately wound, cripple, and neutralize many innocent individuals and ethnic groups that make up the United States of America.

Similarly, like Islamic terrorists, Trump’s campaign has ruthlessly and aggressively changed the means and methods of fighting. For more than 30 years, we have witnessed terrorists deliberately targeting innocent civilians. From Boston to Ankara, California to Paris, Brussels to Madrid, and, of course, the Middle East, suicide bombers have re-defined the way of waging war, and the horrendous fall-out is there for everyone to see in the tens of thousands murdered and irreparably wounded for life.

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This has been the Trump factor of the presidential campaign. He has released verbal incendiary devices all over the country on illegal immigrants, free trade, potential use of nuclear bombs, abortion and the punishment of women, as well as personal and vicious attacks on his opponents and others within the wider political spectrum. And just like the jihadists, Donald Trump has forever changed the nature of political warfare. For he has shown it is acceptable to be nasty and brutal in one’s verbal outbursts. 

And we should not be surprised. America has never been a more polarized, mean and vicious country as it has become today. And it begins from the top down. Members of Congress have manifested a viciousness not seen before in its attacks against each other, not least of all against the person and position of the president. This spitefulness that has pervaded everything political, and Trump has bought into this hatred and knows he can direct his incendiary explosions in all directions. The Trump appeal is to reflect all the anger that has taken hold of many in order to make them feel that they finally have a spokesman who empathizes with them.

The danger of this election is that so many of the potential candidates are spending more of their time and energy denouncing Trump than elaborating on their plans and ideas for improving the state of this country. Will we elect a businessman who backtracks on nearly every issue he misstates, or an alternative who hasn’t yet finished detailing the levels of issues he or she will embrace to become a successful leader?

As for Trump, it would behoove him to carefully think out the issues and then state them intelligently, because there might come a time when — like the feathers of the pillow — it is too late to ever put things all back together again.

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