As Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign for President collapses as a consequence of his flawed character, the following quotations help shed light on what plagues him and far too many in this country. They also offer decent people within both the Republican and Democratic parties insight into what is necessary to understand in order for us to transcend Romney’s callousness, self-centeredness, ignorance, and stupidity. Too much is at stake for this country, for peace between Israel and the Palestinians (both of whom yearn for peace!), for wise American leadership vis a vis the Iranian nuclear threat, and for the international credibility and good standing of the United States for us not to do so.
During these 10 Days of Repentance, Jews are called upon to look within themselves and judge harshly where we are flawed as Mr. Romney seems to be. The tragedy is his case is that he has deep religious faith and has been personally generous to many near him, but his open-heartedness does not extend beyond his narrow religious, social and economic circles, nor does it translate into a political philosophy that can help the most people with the least.
Having said this, we need to be careful as we judge him, for none of us is immune to the failures of character that afflict him. If we are honest with ourselves, our flaws are likely significant as well.
The following statements are apt relative to Mr. Romney and important as we gauge who is most fit for our national political leadership:
“To blame the poor for subsisting on welfare has no justice unless we are also willing to judge every rich member of society by how productive he or she is. Taken individual by individual, it is likely that there’s more idleness and abuse of government favors among the economically privileged than among the ranks of the disadvantaged.” (Norman Mailer, 1923-2007)
“Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” (James Baldwin, 1924-1987)
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929-1968)
“A man is called selfish, not for pursuing his own good but for neglecting his neighbor’s.” (British Archbishop Richard Whately, 1787-1863)
“It is difficult to get a person to understand something when his salary [i.e. income] depends upon his not understanding it.” (Upton Sinclair, 1878-1968)
“The way to overcome the angry person is with gentleness, the evil person with goodness, the miser with generosity, and the liar with truth.” (Indian Proverb)
“The three are really one, for when justice is done, truth prevails and peace is established.” (Talmud Yerushalmi, Taanit 4:2, circa 450 C.E.)
My hopes for each of you and your dear ones:
G’mar chatimah tovah v’t’chateivu b’sefer chayim, l’shanah tovah u-m’tukah, b’ri-ut, asiyah, tikun, uv’chol maaglei chayeinu ha-ishi, hamishpachti, hamiktzo-i, v’hatzibori.
May you be sealed for goodness and written in the book of life for a good and sweet New Year, for health, activism, and restoration in all spheres of our lives, the personal, familial, professional, and public.