Readers Respond to Op-Eds About Trump and Political Division

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Don’t Misperceive Trump’s Israel Stance

A recent op-ed gives the mistaken impression that President Donald Trump’s support for Israel is somehow unique (“Why We Remain Enthusiastic Trumpsters,” Oct. 19).

Every American administration since 1948, regardless of party affiliation, has been unwavering in its support of Israel and her security, to the tune of many billions of dollars in yearly aid, along with diplomatic support. Trump’s position is not in dramatic variance with all previous administrations.

Any disagreements between the United States and Israeli governments have been secondary to that primary commitment. And taking the long view, I hope the authors could agree that it is possible to be a strong supporter of a cause or a country while taking even significant exception to policies and approaches.

Hazzan Jack Kessler | Director, Aleph Cantorial Program

Plumbing the Depths of ‘Aplomb’

How best to respond to a recent op-ed’s glowing embrace of President Donald Trump (“Why We Remain Enthusiastic Trumpsters,” Oct. 19)? In the interest of brevity, let’s just focus on the remark, “Trump has performed necessary executive functions with aplomb.” Merriam-Webster defines “aplomb” as, “complete and confident composure or self-assurance: poise.” Synonyms are: equanimity, calmness, collectedness, composedness, composure, cool, coolness, countenance, equilibrium, imperturbability, placidity, repose, sangfroid, self-composedness, self-possession, serenity and tranquility.

It baffles me that anyone could apply any of these qualities to the president. One of those “necessary executive functions” is filling all the vacancies in the executive branch. Scores of these positions remain unfilled, partially because of the well-known risk of working with such an unstable leadership. If you consider that Trump’s primary method of dealing with adversaries is to attack them with personal insults rather than with policy details or facts, that hardly qualifies as calmness.

If you consider that Trump refused to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner because of his complete lack of a sense of humor and his insecurity in front of members of the press, that does not show anything resembling composure. If you consider that the chief goal of his administration so far has been to eliminate all of Barack Obama’s accomplishments because of his obsession with anything with Obama’s name on it, that does not display equilibrium or tranquility.

Recall that when Obama was president he was frequently criticized for his coolness. Some said that he was too cool, a quality that could be confused with aloofness. So to refer to Trump as cool is odd to say the least.

Benjamin Bloom | Philadelphia

A Time to Respect, a Time to Repudiate

I agree with Joshua Runyan that our political discourse has become increasingly divisive and personal (“Division Is Not a Winning Strategy,” Oct. 19). But we cannot ignore the fact that some segments of our society are so extreme that there is no place for accommodation or nuance. And we don’t need to travel to Hershey to find profane hatred; it is right in our backyard.

I am a Democratic candidate for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County. In my campaign, I have traveled all over Montgomery County — including rural areas of the Perkiomen Valley. Residents in these areas, in places like East Greenville, Red Hill and Green Lane, are under siege. They have been subjected to repeated anonymous mailings of vile anti-Semitic and racist flyers. These residents are frightened — and rightfully so. Free speech, even hate speech, is legally protected, but violence and intimidation, such as we saw in Charlottesville, are not.

So I subscribe to the editor’s call for “mutual respect, patience and reason.” But we must also bear in mind that some ideologies of hate have no regard for patience or reason. They must be met with unequivocal repudiation. 

Jeff Saltz | Wynnewood