Posts tagged " corruption "

The Young, the Elite and the Ignorant

March 21st, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 17 comments

My father-in-law, of blessed memory, used to say that people aren’t balance sheets. You can’t tout up a subjective view of a person’s good and bad points, do a quick mathematical computation and emerge with a ranking. Say someone always shoveled his elderly neighbors’ drives (+3), gave 15% of his income to charity (+3) and was meticulously honest in business (+4) but had an explosive temper with his wife and children (-4) and indulged in an affair (-4).  Do the arithmetic: 3 + 3 + 4 – 4 -4 = 2.  This does not mean that you can say that he was a  +2 type of guy. God will make his own calculations, but we human beings can only say that he was a complicated person, doing both outstanding and horrible actions.

The lens of history reveals John Adams, second president of the United States, as a complicated man. Undoubtedly brilliant and deeply involved in the founding of this country, as president he also signed into legislation the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts and was unpopular enough not to earn a second term in office.

Among his greatest moments, in my opinion, was his defense of the British soldiers accused of murder in the misnamed Boston Massacre of 1770, one of the events that led to America’s declaring independence. Although Adams was already favoring breaking with England, he set a precedent that made America different from Europe by establishing that everyone, even those who are unpopular or hold unpopular views, deserve honest representation before the law. He famously said,  “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they can not alter the state of facts and evidence.” 

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Should religious people steer clear of politics?

March 12th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

Should religious people be involved in politics? Isn’t it better to stay above activities that are so sordid and filled with corruption?

∼ Mitch R.

Answer:

Dear Mitch,

Ancient Jewish wisdom puts a lot of emphasis on the damage we can do with our ability to speak. We can hurt people badly, destroy livelihoods, damage communities and more by misusing the gift of speech. When you think about it, you might come to the conclusion that we’d be better off moving to a remote cabin in an unknown region where there would be no one with whom to speak. Wrong! We are encouraged to interact with others and try our best to use speech wisely.

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