By Marc R. Stanley
October is here, and the best teams of baseball are about to descend on our Lone Star state for the World Series, filling the Global Life Park in Arlington with the sights and sounds of the Fall Classic, closing out a season no fan will ever forget (we’ve already forgotten the Stanley Cup Finals and are trying to forget this NFL season).
And regardless of what teams wind up vying for the crown, if you ask any of these players — or really, any hitter in the minor or major leagues — what they look for when they step into the batter’s box, the answer will be the same: a slow fastball right over the middle of the plate. It’s the easiest pitch to hit. It’s what you want to see when you step up to the plate.
Now think about the equivalent in the realm of politics. What would be the simplest way to knock the ball out of the park? What would be the most basic question to answer, one that would allow a candidate or public official to hit a home run in the eyes of the public and the voters?
Personally, I can think of nothing more straightforward than what President Trump was asked in the first presidential debate: Will you denounce white supremacists? Will you disavow their support and call out their vile acts and rhetoric?
A normal politician with a minimal shred of decency or a moral core — or, truly, any average Texan, American, or human being — would know what to do in that moment. You offer a full-throated condemnation. You call white supremacy what it is: a racist, hateful, bigoted, antisemitic, Islamophobic, chauvinist, misogynist movement with no place in American society or discourse.
Any candidate in that scenario would make it clear that white supremacy is a growing cancer in the American body politic, a threat to our values and our character, a driver of the terrifying rise in hate crimes in the last four years, a deadly risk to our well-being that must be treated, destroyed and defeated by any means necessary.
Was that so hard?
For Donald Trump, I guess it was. Because he refused to say anything in the general vicinity of that strike zone. Instead, he whiffed. He told the Proud Boys — identified by the Anti-Defamation League as a hate group, founded by a man who’s openly trafficked in antisemitism and Holocaust denial — to “stand back and stand by.”
That wasn’t a denunciation. That was a directive from the person these extremist groups consider their ultimate leader. Their top commander was telling the troops: Wait for the opportune moment. Wait for me to give you the high sign. Then all bets are off.
How can anyone mistake his meaning? And what’s worse, was this even surprising, coming from a man who called neo-Nazis in Charlottesville “very fine people,” who launched his political career by calling immigrants rapists and murderers, who’s repeatedly used language drawn directly from the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and recently deployed the stereotype — not for the first time — about Jewish dual loyalty on a call ahead of the High Holidays?
Unfortunately, it wasn’t shocking in the least. It’s what we’ve come to expect. And that says as much about the sad, depressing state of this presidency as anything else.
It doesn’t have to be like this. We have a different option on the ballot Nov. 3, and Texas is no longer a shoo-in for the GOP. We have a say and a voice. Our votes can swing the election and save the country.
But there’s a broader reason to vote for Joe Biden, instead of against Donald Trump. Something more than the fact that he’s repeatedly denounced white supremacists, which, again, should be the bare minimum.
What’s important to remember about the former vice president is what he brings to the table beyond clearing that basic threshold — what he tried talking about in the debate when it wasn’t tossed off the rails by clownish and unpresidential interruptions.
What he offers is an agenda rooted in our deepest Jewish values and highest American ideals. A vision built around our best traditions of social justice.
This is the agenda of welcoming the stranger — the immigrant, refugee, asylum-seeker — yearning for a land of opportunity, remembering that we, ourselves, were once strangers too.
This is the agenda of tikkun olam, repairing the world — of tzedek tzedek tirdof, justice, justice shall you pursue — through securing health care for all; delivering economic justice, racial justice, climate justice, educational justice; preserving our environment and cleaner air for our kids and communities.
This is the agenda of treating every human being with dignity, created b’tzelem Elokim, in the image of God — and that includes defending equal rights for women, protecting women from violence in the home and harassment in the workplace, ensuring women can make their own health care decisions with their families and their doctors.
This is the agenda of the charge that says saving one life is akin to saving the world — because for anyone who’s lost a loved one to COVID-19, it can feel like the end of their universe. So they, and all of us, need a response to this pandemic that’s based on science. That’s rooted in the idea that we bear a responsibility, individually and collectively, to save lives and livelihoods.
When all is said and done, Joe Biden’s values drive him to a simple conclusion: He wants to heal the wounds in our society, repair the rifts in our communities, and restore the soul of our nation.
And that would be a true home run for our community, for Texas, and for our country.
Dallas attorney Marc Stanley, a former chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, chairs Lawyers for Biden.
This Post Has One Comment
To the Editor:
I do not want to waste paragraphs with a sports analogy as Mr. Stanley did. I just would like readers to contemplate some of the lies within his op-ed. I thought Mr. Pulman’s bullet format was effective, so I will also utilize that format.
Trump has repeatedly disavowed white supremacy. The Proud Boys have a black leader, so the Democrats have defamed this group. I call the reader’s attention to youtube.com/watch?v=DZfzJATDmXs&t=87s, a video which is the first source where I actually was able to watch the entire remarks he made about Charlottesville, where he made clear that “the fine people on both sides” was in reference to those for and against the removal of Confederate statues.
Biden also defamed a 17 year old, Kyle Rittenhouse, as a white supremacist. The young man founded an organization to help police officers at the age of 16. He shot people who most likely would have otherwise shot him, as those who watch the video can see. Is there any presumption of innocence still extant in America? Certainly not by the Democratic nominee for President.
3. I further call the reader’s attention to a piece by Bari Weiss in Tablet Magazine regarding the increasing antisemitism of the left, particularly of Democrats,
4. While white supremacism is hateful and should be denounced, Trump was correct in his comments that most of the violence is being perpetrated by the left, especially in the last few months. Looting and riots have cost people in those neighborhoods most affected, many of them black, to lose their livelihoods and even their lives. People were also shot for being Trump supporters. Biden and Harris never once mentioned this violence and complete disdain for law and order, and Biden actually said Antifa was only an idea. I wonder what the people of Seattle and Portland think of what that “idea” has wrought in their cities. The left and particularly Democrats also are quick to stand up for their antisemitic colleagues, such as Ilhan Omar and reluctant to continue to see Israel as an ally.
5. Mr. Stanley gives lip service to tikkun olam and treating every human being with dignity. From the disgusting displays of hatred for both Trump and for his supporters by his side, I guess they do not view him or us as created b’tzelem elokim. Certainly all the Democrats who are going along with abortion up to the point of full term birth do not see these babies as godly creatures either.
Finally, I want to end with adding a bullet point to Mr. Pulman’s list of Trump’s accomplishments. One that I have taken great pride in was his appointment of Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the UN and his giving her carte blanche to defend Israel, as has never been done so vociferously and consistently before.
Those Jews who actually care about the Jewish people and Israel but also just living in a society with civility, free speech, and law and order should think twice before voting for Biden.