Apologies to those readers who prefer reports about the latest 1782 cases and Hague Service Convention news, but as you can imagine if you read the news, politics is becoming all-consuming here and it’ll stay that way at least through early March. The convention wisdom has it that Sen. Bernie Sanders is now the Democratic frontrunner. He is not my first choice for Democratic nominee. He is not my second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth choice. For the most part his policies are not my preferred policies, and in some cases I find his views unsettling and very concerning. On the one hand, a Jewish major party nominee would be a real milestone, and Sanders is recognizably Jewish and has views and an outlook characteristic of a recognizable, though somewhat fringe, corner of the Jewish community. I reject the views of those who doubt his Jewish bona fides. On the other hand, his substantive views on Jewish issues are, ironically, atrocious, and his attacks on AIPAC, his use of antisemitic figures as campaign proxies, and the ridiculous and unacceptable behavior of some of his supporters is beyond the pale.
All that said, this is not an election about policy. It is an election about Trump and fitness for office. Sen. Sanders has some good ideas and some bad ideas, but he is plainly a real human being with real ideas, a real inner life, and good will. No policy disagreements could ever lead me to vote for Pres. Trump, who as I have written before seems to me after years of careful watching to be an empty shell without much of a soul. Here is the quote I keep coming back to when I think about him.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.
Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act 5, Scene 1
And if you want a longer something to chew on, may I suggest Book 9 of Plato’s Republic, the description of the psyche of the tyrannical man.
I will never endorse the abyss, and so if it comes to it, I’ll vote enthusiastically for Sen. Sanders.