Despite controversy over whether President Donald Trump should have consulted Congress prior to launching the April 7 missile attack on the Syrian Shayrat Airbase, whose planes apparently dropped sarin gas bombs on civilians just three days prior, the general feeling is that a military response was required.
Two months ago, Carl Bildt, former Swedish PM, mocked the president following Trump’s implication that there was a terror attack in Sweden perpetrated by immigrants. Mr. Bildt tweeted, “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking?” Two months later, the current Swedish prime minister declared that Sweden will “never go back” to the days of mass migration after an illegal immigrant killed four people and injured 15 in a truck-ramming attack in downtown Stockholm.
After months of derision at Trump’s statements that the Obama administration spied on him and his advisors prior to the election, Bloomberg’s Eli Lake has revealed that Susan Rice, former national security adviser to Barack Obama, did precisely that. In my view, President Trump has proven that at the very least, he deserves a chance to lead the country, as former Vice President Joe Biden put it last month.
Where to Go from Here
Despite persistent efforts by the likes of CNN and The New York Times to discredit President Trump, and despite senior individuals within the GOP appearing to act like a fifth column, Trump must press forward with his agenda and take America to the next level. And by “next level,” I mean consolidate, unite, and fuse the American society into a cohesive whole. As president of the United States, this is his primary obligation to the American people, and nothing he can do will earn him more respect in the eyes of the American people.
The Obama era was one of the most divisive periods that the US has seen since the end of World War II, if not longer. The rifts that Donald Trump exposed by his very election have been in the making for decades. Trump did not create them, but his election brought them to the surface. Throughout the American society, accelerated marginalization is occurring, and the center is quickly shrinking on both sides of the political map. Trump has come to power at what might be America’s last chance to reunite itself into a society with a common agenda, common goals, and common agreement on what is good for America. If he fails, the next president might have to tackle such problems as states declaring political independence from the central government, rampant violent clashes between police and civilians, and other problems more characteristic of Third World countries than of the leader of the free world.
The fact that Trump was elected proves that despite the media’s attempts to portray a different picture, the American people are largely behind him. Just as he went above the media and addressed the American people directly during the election, as president, he can do this even more effectively. Steps such as providing “historically black colleges and universities a long-awaited boost as he looks to outdo his predecessors, including the nation’s first African-American president,” can earn him points and are a step in the right direction. However, if they are not part of an entire strategy of connection, they will not produce the desired result.
One of the President’s main assets is his businesslike approach to governance. He is willing to make changes both to policy and to personnel. As this is the case, I would suggest that Trump look into building his cabinet from people who are committed to the connection of the entirety of the American people, rather than to promoting a specific political or sectoral agenda.
The current challenges of American society are indeed heavy, but a proactive approach can do wonders for them. The government should not regard problems as isolated crises, but rather as indicators of disunity in society. Tensions between police and African-American communities, LGBT issues, growing economic gaps, and the shrinking middle-class all highlight the lack of mutual responsibility and the absence of a sense of interconnectedness and interdependence in society. The mode of work should resemble that of a healthy family: It has to prioritize, yet without leaving family members behind. If Trump comes to view the American people the way a healthy family treats all of its members, there is no doubt America will be great again.
Trump Can Set a Unique Precedent
There is another element that the president should try to utilize. As with any administration in the last several decades, that of Donald Trump is rife with Jews in key positions. It is a common belief that Jews use financial power to pave their way to the top levels of administration. Yet, viewing their success as a mere outcome of wealth misses the key strength of Jews. Jews are at the top primarily because they are great connectors, making them key figures in the functioning of every system. In many ways, Jews are like hubs, mediators who help connect people in order to produce the desired result. The problem is that every administration uses Jews in order to promote its own agenda. Trump will set a precedent if he uses them in order to promote an all-American agenda of unity. Everyone will benefit from this.
There is a good reason why Jews excel at connecting people. The Jewish people are the only nation in the world that has an official birthday. According to the Torah, on the 6th of the Hebrew month of Sivan, in the year 2488 on the Hebrew calendar (1272 BC), the Jewish people was pronounced, having fulfilled the prerequisite of committing to unite “as one man with one heart.” Henceforth, the rise and fall of the Jewish people would depend on its level of adherence to the principle of unity.
For centuries, the Jews endured countless internal disputes and conflicts. They overcame them by applying the law that King Solomon succinctly worded, “Hate stirs strife, and love covers all crimes” (Prov 10:12). At some point, around the beginning of the Common Era, they lost their ability to overcome their partisanship and disunity. In consequence, the alienation between them evolved into such hatred that it brought upon them the exile from the land of Israel and the ruin of the Temple.
Jews remained experts in connection, but because they no longer wanted to connect the nation “as one man with one heart,” they used the skill they had honed for centuries to promote only the interests of their own coterie. Since political success requires good connections in order to pave the way to the top, politicians have always kept several Jews nearby as advisors. The position even has its official, derogatory title: “Court Jew.” Though more often tied to money lending and banking, the term also has a lot to do with politics. Just recently, Jonathan Levi of Forward Magazine asked, “Is Jared Kushner the ‘Court Jew’ of Donald Trump’s Realm?” Clearly, it is not Kushner’s money that President Trump needs. The President feels he needs Kushner precisely where he has him, as a “senior advisor.”
Making America Great Again
If Trump truly wants to deliver on his promise to make America great again, he will need to take a different approach from all his predecessors. This must also require that the Jews in his administration work differently than in all previous administrations. To make America great, it must be a united nation. Trump needs to require that the Jews facilitate connections and rapport among themselves on both sides of the political map, and subsequently extend that amity to the rest of the American people.
If the Jews, who are in key positions on both sides of the map, establish trust and mutual responsibility among themselves, it will be much easier for the President to reconcile with the Democratic Party and establish a government that enjoys the full support of Congress. The longer Trump waits, the harder it will be for him to operate. Divisive forces such as Barack Obama, John McCain, and Bernie Sanders will grow stronger through the relentless push of neoliberal media outlets, which encompasses nearly all major news media including, to an extent, Fox News.
For the most part, advisors suggest to a ruler which way to go and what tactics to embrace at any given situation. But Donald Trump is not your ordinary president. As a businessman, he understands that in order to see results, things need to get done. He is a leader and will determine in what way he wants his advisors’ help. If he is smart, he will tell them that he wants them to draw up a roadmap leading from the current partisanship to trust, cooperation, and eventual cohesion of American society and the political establishment.
This will make America not only great, but also a role model for all other nations, “a light unto nations,” if you will. Implementing a plan of this nature will reverse the negative global trajectory and will guarantee our future, that of our children, and our children’s children.
Reprinted with author’s permission from The Jerusalem Post