With Thanksgiving around the corner, I thought you would enjoy this family story.
Everyone has tales of trauma from attending a family event. If you are a Jewish Republican, you may have a few more especially if you have family on the East Coast. Though we had an overall joyful experience (just travelling with our two grown children was rewarding enough), we had what most would consider a challenge because of the clash of cultures.
We arrived for Friday night Shabbat services and then went to a family dinner immediately after. We were seated randomly at a table of older family members who are bred as quintessential East Coast liberals. They would be bereft if their children did not go to the right college and get a proper advanced degree. Though they had spent eight years belittling George W. Bush, they have special venom for the heathen Trump.
My wife and I would never start a political conversation. But the others could not help themselves. Partially this is because interacting with a Republican is a rare occurrence for them and they want to explore the mind of these unique beings.
They first went after my wife for Trump’s comments on the Access Hollywood Tape. They were chastising her for not properly denouncing Trump. Of course, short of disembowelment, nothing would be proper treatment in their eyes. The sad thing is they really did not know who they were addressing.
My wife was previously awarded the Young Leadership Award for the Women’s Division of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation. After starting her own business, she then went on to become president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-LA). From there she became president of an even higher tiered women’s business group, Organization of Women’s Executives (OWE). She is a model of a modern woman and raised two wonderful children.
Yet somehow, because she did not light her hair on fire because during the presidential campaign someone released a tape of a deplorable remark Trump made in private about a potential interaction with a woman, these old liberal men had a better perspective on the matter than my wife.
Next they lurched into every liberal’s favorite – Trump embracing Nazis. While they were attacking my wife about Trump not properly denouncing Nazis, I jumped in. I calmly stated they should watch their step because they were going after the wife of a former member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. I added I think I was a little more well-versed on the subject. Oh, no, I wasn’t because one of them had left Austria in 1938 with their family.
A couple things I learned while being on the Council was that some people think they have a special ownership of the Holocaust. The only ones who do are the ones who personally were in the death camps. For everyone else, we all own the horrors of the Holocaust. In fact, that is what the entire idea of the museum in D.C. is about -- having everyone own it. I have told people for years that my favorite thing to do in D.C. is watch non-Jews stream into the museum because I know when they come out they will also own part of the Holocaust.
The liberals then went into psycho-analyzing Trump. I know this is the hobby of the Left. Many think they are professional psychoanalysts. On the airplane to the event we had some fun watching all the amateur analysts on CNN and MSNBC telling all the phobias of Trump. The interesting aspect here was the one doing it is a psychiatrist.
I calmly reminded him that his professional rules preclude him from analyzing anyone without having met that person and done proper procedures. That one really set him in a tizzy. He called that horse dung, saying the rule exists only for avoiding legal liability --even though I was left trying to pinpoint the liability that one would be exposed to. I wanted to ask if he would then do a free analysis of some of the people at the table. Since he was performing his profession for free on Trump, why not do the same for the others?
My uncle then jumped in and castigated me for not attacking Trump. He neglected to comment that I have not actually written anything favorable, other than liking him a lot more than Hillary. I don’t write on that topic. I write about what is occurring in our society and public policy, but that was not good enough for him. My columns were not any good if I was not attacking Trump.
My first thought was why did he need me to write something attacking Trump. He reads people attacking Trump all day; why did he also need it from me? Then he did what every liberal does these days: He invoked a never-Trumper and asked why I wasn’t more like him. In this case, it was Bret Stephens (formerly of the Wall Street Journal) because he is now writing for the only real newspaper – the New York Times. I wanted to say “Gosh, mom, I will try to be more like Bret in the future,” but I held my tongue.
Last, one of the younger set joined the table and started to try and go after me. That is not easy as my wife always warns those on the other side “He knows your arguments better than you do.” We ended up having a civil conversation mainly about the struggles of the Black Community and then I educated him about particular challenges of the American Indians.
The fascinating thing is I invoked some right-of-center blacks and he, of course, had no clue who they were. These are not minor people. Thomas Sowell and Walt Williams are true giants. I threw in Jason Riley who writes for the Wall Street Journal and he still did not know any of them. I shouldn’t be surprised; he lives in a bubble.
And that was just the first night.