Monthly Archives: January 2017

IS TRUMP A GOLDWATER REPUBLICAN?

January 16, 2017. By Kelley Kidd

I have sometimes heard Trump referred to as a Goldwater conservative, a reference to the Republicans who nominated and campaigned for Arizona’s sometimes very controversial Senator. Barry Goldwater was a frequently brusque ideologue who won the Republican nomination for President in 1964, then lost by a landslide to Lynden Johnson.

Barry was serving in the Senate during the summer of 1959 when many of his senatorial colleagues were running for President. I was there as a flunkie of sorts in the office of Richard Russell, the senior Senator from Georgia. Mesmerized by the lyrical conservative prose of Barry’s writings about political and social issues, I studied him carefully and remember him well. He would be angered today to hear anyone characterize Donald Trump as a “Goldwater conservative”.

Barry could be orally foolish. Witness his famous announcement that extremism in the defense of liberty was no vice. He could be dead wrong, as he was when he argued that common law tradition forbid the government to require public accommodations to be open to people regardless of race; actually common law traditions required innkeepers and hotel owners to serve anyone who offered payment for service. But I have always believed he was a decent man who worked hard to take positions he believed to be moral and just.

Barry Goldwater hated tyrants, especially Russian ones. He showed respect, even deference, towards women and the parents of American servicemen. He would have been outraged at Trump’s groping, his taunting of John McCain’s captivity as a POW, his insulting and bigoted pretense that the President was not an American, his smearing of the gold star parents of an American military hero, his outrageous attacks on the voting system as rigged, his constant whining that the media which has created his prominence is singling him out for unfair criticism, and his ostentatious display of wealth. Barry had the word gold in his name and a gold eagle pin to proclaim his patriotism. He despised the sort of special privilege that Trump claims for the super rich and the hubris that leads Trump to taunt others with sexual innuendoes. He would have been horrified by evidence that any foreign government had tried to influence our election, and he would have vehemently attacked Trump for his contempt for NATO. No, Trump is not anything like Barry Goldwater. Those who say otherwise are ignorant or deluded.

A REFLECTION ON CHRISTMAS

January, 2017. Jacob ben Abraham.

I am not a Christian. So this most special of holidays in America is not celebrated by me for the usual religious sentiments. Although I do observe the holiday with positive feelings, my attitude carries no personal belief in Jesus as God or as the child of a virgin mother or as the redeemer of the world. Nevertheless I celebrate over the birth of the baby Jesus. It is a season for remembering that the birth of an infant is holy. Because the story of Jesus birth is a story about the story of a child born in a manger, an implication is that poverty is no obstacle to holiness. Because the story is about the birth of a Jewish baby, another implication is that Jewishness s no obstacle to holiness. Because the story is about the birth of s Jewish baby a territory (the West Bank) that many UN resolutions claim is forbidden by law to Jewish settlers (Israeli occupied West Bank), another implication is that the holiness of this birth is not diminished by any legal or allegedly moral restrictions on where Jews (i.e. Zionists) should live.

It would be a wonderful thing if we could all see that our choicelessness at birth prefigures our true moral and spiritual value, that the particular ethnic and political and religious identities of our parents do not and cannot alter the fundamental fact of our intrinsic worth—infinite and holy. Not because the religion says so. Or the law. Or the politics of the time in which we are born. Were Jesus to be born today he would be holy because every baby is holy. You were a baby and you are holy too.