Dear Mr. President – September 14, 2020

September 14, 2020

Dear Mr. President,

I know you are in the middle of a grand tour of Hispanic voters. You have been working very hard to reach out to the people who love you, even gathering them as close to your bosom as possible. You give your crowd of fans as much love as you possibly can, and they give it right back to you. It must feel so good.

This morning I read about yesterday’s rally and thought, this is how a wildfire starts. You gather all the fuel together and light a spark. Sometimes the fire burns out of control and destroys everything in its path. In the case of the fires on the west coast, the destruction includes homes, families, communities and the forests, animals and the ecosystem. Smoke from the fires continues to cause problems with breathing and health. The wind currents even are bringing smoke to Michigan! Your “man-made fire” has also spread across the country and it continues to destroy public health, communal norms, governmental institutions and good will toward others. Just as one wildfire leads to another, so do your rallies lead to even more destructive fires.It is the week leading up to Rosh Hashana, according to the Jewish tradition, the birthday of the world. I won’t bore you with all the details, you can just ask Jarrod and Ivanka to fill them in. You should just know that this is a good time to evaluate our lives, both personally and as a community. Our prayers are said in the plural “we” as we take responsibility for all of “our” actions. We ask for forgiveness for sins against other human beings as well as the sins we have committed against G-d. This is pretty heavy stuff, but it is cleansing, because it allows for new commitments to our families, our communities, our world and to our traditions and ethics. Just as some fires, controlled fires, can lead to new growth and healthier forests, so can new inspiration from our leaders lead to solving real problems in a real world.

In the NYTImes crossword puzzle from last Saturday, one of the clues was “Them” and the answer was “enemies”. When you use “they” or “them” are you saying that more than half the people of this country are your “enemies”? What happened to the oath you love, “One nation, under G-d”? Just as Nancy Pelosi prays for you, my prayers also include praying for good leaders, ones who work to improve all our lives and unite the entire country with good will toward all.

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