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Letters: The Sanders Dilemma, Words in the Time of Post-Impeachment Trump

[additional-authors]
February 21, 2020

The Sanders Dilemma
Thank you for telling the truth about Bernie Sanders (“Can the Democrats Survive Bernie Sanders?” Feb. 14). After watching the debate on Feb. 7, I was afraid. I still believe in the American Dream, not “Animal Farm,” which is what Bernie Sanders is promoting.

What is wrong in America cannot be fixed by throwing money at it. We need to look deeper at the breakdown of our family and communities.

For seven years, the Women’s Enterprise Action Loan Fund has been providing no interest loans and one-on-one mentoring to those who cannot get traditional loans (predominately black and Latino). What those women want is a hand up, not a hand out.

I fear Sanders for all the reasons you mention.
Vicki Weiner, Founder, Women’s Enterprise Action Loan Fund

David Suissa makes some good points: Bernie die-hards could either stay home or sabotage the election in November if they feel that the Democratic Party robs Sanders of the nomination again; we need to have a decent mensch to restore dignity in the White House; and economic data are on the strong side (even though the comeback started before Donald Trump got into office and there is no evidence that any of his policies has contributed to that data).

However, Suissa is also off base on the following: A “straight shooter” moderate Democrat president will not be able to unify the country by compromising with Republicans (Republicans said no to everything proposed by moderate Democrat Barack Obama, and they fearfully acquitted a corrupt president when all the evidence was against him); with a dying environment, destructive trade wars and a health care and military budget that could bankrupt this country, we need a policy revolution, not just a decency revolution.

I don’t agree with everything that Sanders espouses, but we need an “extremist” president who will be forced by Congress to move toward the middle, instead of a milquetoast moderate who will be yanked far to the right.
Scott Ben-Yashar, Los Angeles

In his column, Suissa proves his point that “The Democratic Party is in a pickle.” He makes many correct observations about the current political situation of the Democratic Party. There are some thoughts I disagree with, but that’s not my point.

Growing up in a communist/socialist country, I learned one thing: Every person deserves the government, including the president, in power. In other words: The government or the president are mere reflections of the state of the society. It’s not the president’s fault that the country is divided. It’s true that he or she can make things worse or better. But when so many voters buy the promise of an unscrupulous person to make the country great and vote for him, who is to blame?
I absolutely agree with Suissa that America is a deeply divided nation. But I disagree with him on what the country desperately needs. When was the last time America was “one” and for how long? Or the broader question: For how many years altogether the country has been “one”?

Here’s the tough one: Does America actually want to be “one”?

If I were a dreamer, my answer would be yes. But I’m not a dreamer. Life has taught me to be realistic. From my profession, I learned that deep divisions in a building are serious and, to fix them, we need to look down to the very foundation. And we will do it if only all owners of the building want to keep it whole.
Svetlozar Garmidolov, Los Angeles

Shmuel Rosner does an excellent job in citing the issues involving Bernie Sanders that have led me — and almost 90% of Jewish Democrats — to abhor the prospect of Sanders as our next president (“Sanders and the Jews,” Feb. 7).

There is one thing I would add to Rosner’s list: Although Sanders is so critical of Israel and demands so much from it with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he asks so little of the Palestinians. That is not the kind of person I would ever vote for.
George Epstein, Los Angeles

Words in the Time of Post-Impeachment Trump
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses …”

(POTUS): “… and I’ll send them back where they came from.”

“Global warming is a hoax.”

“But why is Mar-a-Lago slipping into the sea?”

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

“And Biden, Bernie, Bloomberg, Buttigieg …”

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

“Build that wall, Pence, and Ukraine will pay for it.”

“Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”

“Keep firing until all the Democrats have left for Canada.”

“A chicken in every pot.”

“An automatic rifle in every home.”

“Forgive student debt.”

“Forgive the national debt.”

“That’s one small step for man …”

“And one giant step for monarchy!”

“Raise the minimum wage.”

“Raise taxes on those who get it.”

“Medicare for all.”

“Trumpcare for … we’ll have to see.”
Hal Rothberg, Calabasas

The Rest of the Story
I think it’s important to identify what is and what is not anti-Semitism. While reading “The Jewish Women Taking on the Charlottesville Instigators” (Jan. 31), I was irked that subjects were quoted as saying President Donald Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides.”

If you watch the full video clip, you will see that Trump explicitly condemned the neo-Nazis, along with the Antifa members who also attended the rally. The “very fine people” who Trump was referring to were the nonviolent protestors at the rally.

There are many legitimate criticisms to be made of Trump. However, it is no secret that the mainstream media dislike him. I would say that the media purposefully took his words out of context to create a false narrative.

Granted, it was a poor choice of words. Despite his faults, we should not waste time going after Trump, but pursuing the real culprits of anti-Semitism.
Michael Felsenthal, Los Angeles

Jewish Education
Regarding Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz’s story (“Judaism Is About Adults, Not Children,” Jan. 31). I don’t think I’m unique when I say that my Jewish education and knowledge were very basic as I grew up. I just took being Jewish for granted since I seemed surrounded by reminders of Jewish identity and history.

As an adult, I began to reexamine my feelings about what it meant to be a Jew living in the U.S. I quickly realized that being a bar mitzvah doesn’t make me Jewish. My soul was stirred, and I felt that I needed to know more about our people’s past, rituals and traditions. I discovered various subjects were being offered at synagogues and Jewish centers, but these were only individual classes, not an established curriculum of Jewish studies geared toward busy adults.

I was fortunate to be introduced to the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning in the Conejo/West Valley, where I have been a student since 2008. This program of weekly, two-hour university-level courses are taught by local rabbis and Jewish educators.

The study materials encompass areas of learning that revolve around Torah, Prophets and Writings, as well as more advanced subjects such as Jewish medical ethics, Jewish denominations, Jews in America and Jewish mysticism, allowing each student to grapple with multiple perspectives while engaging in conversation.

It continues to be a wonderful path to pursue. I believe that my journey isn’t the only road to gaining greater knowledge and wisdom.
Robert Grossmann, Thousand Oaks

Ode to Kobe Bryant
When strangers cry
and tears flow freely
life becomes a balancing beam
when strangers cry
When strangers cry
thoughts go deep
sorrow, deeper
when strangers cry
When strangers cry
the innocent are lifted
as their deserved due
when strangers cry
When strangers cry
the message is clear
the hurt is real
love is what you hear
as the stadium bells continue to peal
when strangers cry
When strangers cry
true as a bouncing ball falls
it begins its journey to its owner
when strangers cry …
Mitch Cohen, Seal Beach

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