US President Donald Trump has accomplished a modern miracle - opinion

Americans need a coherent, realistic vision, not rhetoric; they need to know where they want to go, and why – and who can get them there safely.

President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Biden participate in their second debate in Nashville (photo credit: REUTERS)
President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Biden participate in their second debate in Nashville
(photo credit: REUTERS)

My father, Sol Dann, a lawyer in Detroit, was passionately devoted to social causes, especially the struggle for workers’ rights. He helped to initiate Workers’ Compensation laws for injuries sustained at work, and he was devoted to fighting for justice and the struggle against racism, discrimination and exploitation. Most of his clients were poor, black and immigrants; he often defended them in court against their powerful employers in the automobile industry without charge.
A life-long Democrat (until Ronald Reagan), he saw the party as serving those who were disadvantaged and vulnerable. On Shabbat afternoons, he often hosted a family that was having marital problems, with John Hudson, a marital therapist, and his wife, Dottie. His “religion” was helping others: That was his way of serving God.
My father was also passionate about Judaism, although he was not observant, and Zionism. A friend and supporter of Menachem Begin, he regaled us, his children, with stories of Israeli war heroes, especially those who fought against the British occupation of what was Mandatory Palestine, and those who gave their lives for the Jewish people – “Dov Gruner, the patriots (martyrs) and the six million” – he prayed daily in his own way, alone, at home, where I watched him silently.
One of the things he taught us was “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” With the upcoming election in America, I wonder what he would say. While social issues define and shape our political preferences, media distortions make it difficult to know what is true, and what is not. For example, the current candidates for president represent different views concerning Israel.
There can be no doubt that US President Donald Trump  – in addition to moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and declaring that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (“West Bank settlements”) are not “illegal” – has accomplished a modern miracle in bringing about a normalization of relationships between Arab countries and Israel. One could not ask for better and wiser friends than Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Former vice president Joe Biden, in contrast, has been equivocal, surrounded by many who are anti-Israel or indifferent about it, and has said that he would reinstate former president Barack Obama’s policies, which were openly hostile toward Israel. Since the Black Lives Matter movement and Muslim organizations support the Democratic Party, does a vote for the latter endorse the former? This election, therefore, is a dilemma. When it comes to defending Israel at home and in the international community, who can be trusted?
Embracing Jew-haters and Israel-haters in the Democratic Party is a shattering reality. Support for Israel can never be taken for granted, and dismissing or ignoring these dangers would fulfill the second part of my father’s warning. The risk that a Biden-led administration would be less supportive of Israel, indifferent or become hostile, is compelling. In the past, he has been silent when Israel was attacked and, as a senator, he was openly critical of Israeli policies. Although important, Israel however is – relatively – a side issue.
The current hostilities between the political parties began four years ago when former Obama officials and leaders of the Democratic Party tried to impeach Trump based on false charges, using a Clinton-funded discredited dossier, and led by politically-motivated Department of Justice and FBI leaders. This abuse of power undermined the integrity of American institutions and its political system. As state governments collapsed when faced with street riots, violence, anarchism and calls to defund the police, many Americans felt helpless and betrayed.
This election, therefore, is not only Trump vs Biden: It’s Trump vs Obama and his supporters. On the big foreign policy issues – China, and to a lesser extent Iran – will Biden, if elected, follow Trump’s policy of confrontation and containment, or will he return to Obama’s policy of appeasement?
Being almost 80 and having no real leadership experience, few accomplishments and a staff filled with former Obama advisers, it’s hard to know. Although Biden has recently become critical of China’s policies, what will he do if elected? Are his policies with regard to China any different than those of Trump?

American elections are not fundamentally about Democrats and Republicans: They are about fulfilling the promise of America, protecting and preserving its values, and celebrating its contributions to civilization. Proud of our achievements, we are also mindful of our mistakes and we learn from them. There really is a “big picture,” and we are part of it.
As my father would often say, “We have so much to be thankful for. We need to appreciate what God has given us.”
The writer is an 81-year old journalist in Israel.