Positive lessons from a rancid presidential debate

This election has actually reinforced American democracy, which is predicated on the idea that anyone can be President.

October 10, 2016 10:11
4 minute read.
US debate

Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton answers a question from the audience during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, US, October 9, 2016. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Rather than write yet another column on how disgusting this Presidential election has become and how it represents the nadir of American democracy, I’ve decided, two nights before Yom Kippur, to be positive.

So here goes.

This election has actually reinforced American democracy, which is predicated on the idea that anyone can be President. We’re all equal. None is better than the next. It’s not just log-cabin-born geniuses with latent talent like Abraham Lincoln who can end up as America’s Chief Magistrate. It’s absolutely anyone.

If someone who lies as much Hillary Clinton can be President, so can you.

If someone who speaks so dismissively about other people like Donald Trump can be President, so can you.

If someone who has best friends like dirty-trickster Sidney Blumenthal can be President (Hillary Clinton), so can you.

And if someone is so insecure that he needs to impress even a journalist like Billy Bush with filthy talk about women (Donald Trump), can be President, so can you.

That’s the first positive point.

The second is a lesson in youth and mature age. Whatever you think about Donald and Hillary, it’s pretty darn cool that they’re both at it with such vigor at 70 and 68. America is a culture that positively glorifies youth. Old people are made to feel like they’re already dead, unless they shove a needle in their forehead to get rid of lines.

But Trump and Hillary have brought renewed vigor to older age. Watching the way they killed each other at the second Presidential debate was inspiring. I’ve rarely seen two people with such vigor. And I’m not even trying to be funny. Watch them run around the country non-stop and we’ve finally given the lie that the age of 65 ought to be retirement age. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said it best. Retirement should be about putting on “new tires” and going ever stronger.

The third is the positive lesson that there is finally a price to pay for treating women like garbage. Ten years ago I published a book for Judith Regan at HarperCollins called “Hating Women: America’s Hostile Campaign Against the Fairer Sex.” In it I made the case that American culture degrades women, using their bodies so sell beer, fat-shaming women, and treating them as the libidinous man’s plaything. American culture had committed the offense of training men to see women not as their equals but as having been created to give them orgasms.

The book sold OK but nobody much cared. I got so much pushback. Stop trying to change the culture, I was told. This is the way it is. The men do the serious work of scoring touchdowns on the gridiron. The women jump up and down in lycra with pompoms. Welcome to America.

But now we see that nearly twenty years after Monica, Bill is still paying the price for treating women like disposable playthings. And Trump has become odious to many American voters because of rancid and vile comments to Billy Bush about women. And Billy Bush has now been suspended by NBC for sounding like the world’s greatest suck up as Trump bragged about grabbing women’s crotches.

Oh no. I sound negative again. Way too easy in this election. Let me return to the positive.

Here I’m being serious. I’m very grateful to Trump for his strong support of Israel, including Israel’s vital settlements in Judea and Samaria. I’m also grateful for his repeated criticism of the catastrophic Iran deal, which he repeated to great effect in the second debate when he lambasted Hillary for helping to orchestrate a deal that gives the Iranian murderers $150 billion to kill people all over the world. I’m also grateful to Trump for the incredible support he showed his daughter Ivanka when she chose to join the Jewish nation and become and observant Jew.

And I therefore lament that Trump is screwing it all up by saying so many stupid, and avoidable things. He was strong in the second debate and probably beat Hillary. But it may be too late.

I also feel for Hillary for being the wife of a man who humiliated her at every turn. I would say that she comported herself through all that pain with great composure and dignity, which is probably true, if not for the fact that at some point she decided that saving his political career would have to be purchased even at the expense of other people’s ruin.

And I’m very impressed that Hillary maintains her cool and composure through many attacks in debates, another great lesson for the rest of us to absorb. Don’t let people get under your skin.

Now, if she would only dump Sidney Blumenthal, repudiate the Iran deal, apologize to Netanyahu for being Obama’s “yeller in chief” at the Israeli leader, and embrace vouchers and charter schools in public education, she might just begin to peel off even Trump’s most dedicated support.

But I suspect there is a greater chance of my being elected President this cycle than that eve happening.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America” is the international best-selling author of 31 books, including “Kosher Sex,” “Kosher Lust,” and “The Kosher Sutra.” The winner of the London Times Preacher of the Year competition, he has just published “The Israel Warrior”. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

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