The Daggers are Unsheathed

September 20th, 2018 Posted by Susan's Musings 46 comments

On November, 29, 1981, my husband and I were sleeping on our sailboat, anchored  in Avalon Bay on Catalina Island. On that night, as we slumbered, we were just a few hundred yards from where Natalie Wood drowned under suspicious circumstances. The next morning, when we emerged on deck with our coffee, the tranquility of the bay was disturbed by a small fleet of police vessels.

About a year earlier on December 8, 1980, we were dining with friends at a restaurant in Manhattan when word arrived that only a few blocks away, John Lennon had been murdered. In other words, I was close to the scenes of at least one and possibly two crimes at opposite ends of the country, in surroundings starkly different from each other. If that isn’t suspicious, what is?

The above facts are bad enough, but I am sorry to tell you that as a third-grader, I participated in teasing an unpopular schoolmate. A few years later, I cheated on a test when a teacher let me take it home, trusting me to take it honorably.  While I am ashamed of both those things, there are other actions I have done or not done that to an even greater extent I wouldn’t want to see on the nightly news.

I’m telling you these things so that you will understand why I will have to turn down any Supreme Court nominations that come my way as well as refrain from running for public office. When it comes to anyone with conservative principles, no ludicrous associations or past sins are ever too small to mention, too unsubstantiated to rely upon, or happened too long ago to be irrelevant. Too many on the Left have long stopped debating ideas, preferring instead to destroy people.

We Jews have just finished a period of the year known as the Ten Days of Repentance. They begin with Rosh Hashanah and conclude with Yom Kippur. During that time, Jews (at least those of us who try live according to Jewish ways) examine our deeds from the past year, ask forgiveness from people we have hurt and pray that God pardons us for our transgressions against Him.

That part about asking forgiveness from people we have harmed is a tough one. Sometimes the person is no longer around; sometimes it would hurt them to share what we did. In the latter case, the more proper thing to do is to live with our guilt. Other times, we ourselves are blithely unaware of or have forgotten an action or statement that wounded another person. Too often, we can think of a dozen reasons that asking forgiveness is unnecessary or impossible. And sometimes, people who claim we harmed them are unstable, lying, malicious, missing the whole picture or motivated by things that reflect on them, not on us.

We are given a lifeline. You see, in our complex lives, all of us have many chances to be the offender and the injured party. Ancient Jewish wisdom tells us that God will treat us as we treat others. If we graciously forgive, magnanimously gloss over hurts rather than stewing in them, and assume misunderstanding rather than malice when we think someone wronged us (which may or may not be based in reality), God will look at our transgressions with a similarly benevolent eye. We need to believe in our own dignity and the dignity of others, doing our best

Like anything meant for mature adults, the ideas of forgiveness are tangled, detailed and complex. There are times when restitution must precede asking forgiveness and times when taking the seemingly hard line is the more compassionate and correct way to go. We don’t have to, and sometimes are forbidden to, automatically accept responsibility for things that never happened or were horribly misconstrued, though sometimes we do just that in the name of peace.  For serious Jews, this period of the year is a marathon, not a stroll.

Only God can dispense perfect justice. Down here in the world of mortals, we can aim for lofty goals and strive to make a society that comes close to achieving them. At the same time we must recognize that encouraging a society where we endlessly attack, accuse and believe the worst about each other ends in a dangerous and doomed path.

I don’t personally know either Paul Manafort or Brett Kavanaugh. I I don’t know Brendan Eich who was forced out of Mozilla in 2014  or Lawrence H. Summers who was forced out of the presidency of Harvard University in 2006. (The last two names now seem like canaries in the coal mine.)  I don’t know dozens, perhaps hundreds or thousands of other prominent and not-well-known people who have lost their jobs, missed out on promotions, been ostracized or worse for being conservative, saying something that might be construed as conservative or, the worst sin of all, having anything to do with Donald Trump.

Some of these people are far from role models, others are highly admirable. That is irrelevant to the message that is being sent. It is a mistake to judge these cases on individual merit or deal with them one at a time. We need to recognize that, while some accusations may be valid and others may actually be powered by sincerity, right now there is an overarching attack on democracy, free speech, freedom of thought and religion and other mainstays of the American system. By not responding to these cases with determination, firmness and strength we are acquiescing in the message that anyone who doesn’t support, or at least kowtow to, the increasingly fascistic, socialist and hate-filled liberal Left will be destroyed.

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46 comments

Dan says:

Susan, your last sentence seems to say, “If we don’t resist, we will be destroyed.” That’s pretty simple. What do you propose we do, love our enemies who in these last days cannot endure sound reason, whom the Lord has rewarded with a reprobate mind incapable of returning the love, who can only hate with a vengeance to kill? Hmmm..ok.

Susan Lapin says:

Dan, I don’t see a conflict between recognizing that everyone is created in the image of God and should be respected for that alone and fighting with all our might against evil. And, yes, that sometimes means behaving in ways that are harsh to people pushing evil. We can hold two conflicting thoughts in our heads but need to choose one course of action. Unless one is a Quaker (and I could be misunderstanding Quakerism) not fighting back is not a Biblical principle in my book.

Carl Pearlston says:

Really sound and to-the-point. We live in dark times, which may well resemble the pre-Civil War climate.

Susan Lapin says:

Carl, the Civil War pretty much divided the country geographically. The areas that were unclear had lots of non-military bloodshed, such as ‘Bloody Kansas.’ I agree that our society is splitting – or being convinced it is splitting by the media – but I have trouble seeing how it plays out. The Civil War did not break out overnight. There were decades (actually over a hundred years) of being able to see that there was a growing problem. Could wiser heads have avoided war? Do we have enough wise heads now?

Harold Watson says:

My understanding is that when a territory decided to accede to the union of those already having acceded, they did so on the basis of agreeing to obey and honor the Constitution. The Federal Government was also obligated to do the same. If the government at any time departed from the restrictions placed upon it by the Constitution, then the states were free to secede from the union. By sending an army against South Carolina for having seceded because of the Fed. Gov.’s abuses, Lincoln broke out of the cage placed upon him by the Constitution. In a nut shell, what I have gleaned from all this is that the South was being placed in a position of economic servitude to the more populated industrial states of the North because they had more votes in congress. Lincoln became a tyrant and sent Federal Marshals to arrest members of congress, who had spoken out against the injustice being done to the South by the North, at 2 in the morning and put them in chains. Like the European Union of nation states, so it was here. Thirteen original states agreed to join together under the mutually agreed upon Constitution by the delegates sent by each state to participate in its creation. It is the Constitution that allowed for our three-branched government. The restrictions listed in the Constitution are on the Federal government, not on the states or the people. The people have the ultimate sovereignty over the state and federal government. At present we have a rogue government no longer submissive to either the Constitution nor the people, but by clandestine outside forces (persons). The democratic party has been usurped by a foreign political philosophy and should be declared a domestic enemy, forced to disband and its leaders tried for treason and when found guilty, promptly hanged. All others who refuse to submit to lawful government should have their citizenship revoked and their assets confiscated and sent out of the country to other places which do not touch our border.

Scott says:

What I see happening in this slippery slope is the foundations of our constitution and the idea of equal justice is being eroded by easily mobilized groups of “useful idiots.” These groups are growing and becoming increasingly radical, I believe its only a short period time before they become dangerous vigilantes. It seems forgiveness is only for those who share their political or ideology point of view. This extreme demonization at some point could destabilize our democracy.

Susan Lapin says:

Scott, I think we are further down the road than you think we are. I think our democracy is already unstable and that there are dangerous vigilantes out there.

Susan Hire says:

So do I. When it comes to the Supreme Court, this is all about abortion. When it comes to Congress, it’s a split between Capitalism and Socialism. When it comes to immigration, it’s about the Democrats getting votes. It’s like watching the country fall of a cliff in slow motion, and the media is cheering it on.

Harold Watson says:

Please don’t call it a democracy, it is a Constitutional Republic. Democracy to me is a propaganda word to help us lose sight of what we really are. All democracies have failed in history. Investigate the meaning of a Constitutional Republic. Blessings.

Jean says:

“Equal justice” has been replaced by “social justice” – which is unequal justice, based on the perception of the degree of victimhood by the individual dispensing the justice. It amounts to the institutionalization of lynch mobs.

Susan Lapin says:

Jean, that is a very good way to put it.

Cindy says:

Thank you Susan. I am a conservative in California and I agree with your message. Not too long after the presidential election, I went to lunch with a dear friend who happens to be a Democrat. As we were eating, she said to me, ” I suppose you voted for Trump”. I said yes, I did. With that, she stood up, just went off and literally told me off in the middle of the restaurant. I sat there embarrassed as many watched what was happening. I thought she was going to walk out, but she sat down. I told her, I respect that you supported Hillary, but I did not. Anyway, it appears our friendship is over. I don’t hear from her anymore. How sad is that? I’m am not changing my opinion so I guess that is good. I do speak up and I am well versed and can support my opinion with facts and examples. I agree that we need to respond firmly and not back down. I guess I would ask, when will this end? How did we get to this point where we can’t have a debate and discuss in a reasonable manner.

Susan Lapin says:

Wow, Cindy. How sad is that. I too had friends who changed their opinion of my husband and me based on our voting decision. Part of the problem is the isolation of news. I make a point of reading liberal-leaning articles and I think, even if by default, most conservatives do. I’m afraid if you are anti-Trump you never have to see anything that talks about another side.

Jan says:

I have done the same shameful things as a child as you have. I regret them still to this day but I do know that because I choose to be merciful towards the people who have harmed me, God will choose to be merciful to me. Thanks be to God!

Susan Lapin says:

What a dangerous place to go, Jan, as to say that a mistake in adolescence can never be overcome.

Jan says:

I do believe that all mistakes in adolescence can be overcome. I certainly did not think that I was implying that they could not be! I just meant that Divine forgiveness is always given to every repentant person. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Forgive and you will be forgiven is a good rule to follow. If you desire mercy, extend mercy to others.

I think that many people are alarmed, and rightly so, that now it is acceptable in the eyes of many persons to accuse a person without any proof for an alleged event from 35 years ago in order to use this alleged event to ruin this person’s life.

Joanne says:

Appreciate your courage in speaking out…thank you!!!

Susan Lapin says:

Joanne, I was going to say that it isn’t courageous for me because of the circles in which I travel, but that would be wrong. We do suspect that my husband’s outspokenness was the reason that we were audited more than once (your taxpayer dollars cover the government’s bill, but we had to pay for our accountant’s time to prove that everything was above board). And, we have received more than our share of hate mail. So, I am just going to say thank you and encourage everyone to speak up – and to vote in November.

Betsy says:

When I hear about a case like what we are seeing now – a man accused of an attempted assault that allegedly occurred 36 years ago – I am truly baffled that there is no Statute of Limitation concerning allegations like this. We are seeing this kind of thing with increasing regularity, and it is not fair. People should have a time window to make an allegation, and anything after that should be ignored.

Susan Lapin says:

This is the court of public opinion, Betsy, which is a dangerous place without rules.

margery ripley says:

there are statutes of limitation on this particular charge . it is not rape charged but a far less serious offense. Also, The charge is so undocumented and unsubstantiated by witnesses, that it is absurd to think that this is anything more than a smear job to delay confirmation and put the court out of commission for the next session.

Leah says:

Had the accuser filed charges at the time, Kavanaugh might have gone to jail, even at age 17.

I think that this fanaticism on the left is partially due to the blocking of the appointment of Merrick Garland who is a centrist and not a hard correct liberal.

And I was privileged to meet Judge Garland when he came with his family to a Shabbat dinner in an Orthodox synagogue so I don’t view him as someone who would have been a threat to religious freedom.

Susan Lapin says:

Leah, I agree that a lot of liberal-minded people are justifying this on the basis of Judge Garland. The two cases are not comparable at all in fact. One worked entirely within the rules of the Senate while the other, as happened with Judge Thomas, is an attempt to ruin a person by allegations that cannot be proven.
As to your first sentence, you left out, “…and had the allegation been proved true in a court of law.” Also, I’m not sure that thirty years ago, the law dealt with drunken adolescent parties in that way.

margery ripley says:

the DEMOCRATS repeatedly insisted that judges not be confirmed in the last year of a second term president. and NOW they call it stonewalling. and NOW they say they are only doing what the other side did to them. The insanity of the progressive postmodernists is Not making liberty minded sane people go berserk, it is making us stronger in defending liberty and the constitution.

Susan Gilliland says:

Here! Here! could not agree more! Still having a hard (chuckle) at the thought of you cheating on a test lol. I am always called the “goody two shoes” of the family, because I would always feel guilty for any wrong doing. I kinda think you are like that too, but well, maybe not. hmmmm ❤️

Susan Lapin says:

Oh, yes, Susan. My husband used to joke that if I returned a library book a day late I expected to find my face up in the post office on the “Wanted” poster.

Art Carnrick says:

Excellent!

Susan Lapin says:

Thank you, Art.

FLOYD WILSON says:

Will you “dwell in booths” or under palms for Sukkot? I was in Israel for Sukkot in 1988 and was impressed and inspired by the Jews observance of Sukkot.

Susan Lapin says:

Yes, Floyd. Barring strong rain we eat our meals in Sukkot, or booths, for the week. In many climes, men sleep out there as well.

Lisa says:

I had a similar situation as Cindy. Only this was in 2004 when President George W. Bush was bidding for re-election. Bush was the most hated man on the planet. The village idiot from Texas, they called him. I never voted for him, or any of the others. People asked my opinion on the candidates, I simply stated Bush was going to win again.

I became the next idiot in everyone’s eyes, and I had nothing to say, and I had nothing to prove. Despite the anti-Bush books and films (remember Fahrenheit 9/11)), Bush did indeed become President for a second term. And people around me were burning up with so much anger. Sounds familiar doesn’t it.

Some things can’t be explained. I never follow the election. I did not even vote. It didn’t matter what I thought or what others thought. I was praying and fasting for the country then and now. And I knew what I knew. Bush was going to win, just like I knew Trump would win.

Oh, and by the way, just before I left my house on that fateful morning of November 3, 2004, I heard a small still voice say to me, “Keep your mouth shut as you go through the day. This [election] is my doing. I’m taking care of business.”

Claire Bradley-Johnston says:

Very well written, Susan. I truly enjoy your thoughts. Makes me think deeper about forgiveness. I’m never really certain on some issues where it is better to forgive than fight. Sometimes, I really have to ask God to help me forgive whether with members of family or just myself…

Susan Lapin says:

Claire, I find that it helps to have someone you trust who comes from a practical and Godly perspective to talk things out with. Sometimes, we can get very caught up in our own minds and not find clear thinking.

Frederick L Bradley says:

When you hear Maxine Waters, et al say things like to confront & harass Trump staff, media conservatives etc at restaurants, gas stations, anywhere you see them and witness the anger & hatred from the left-wing fascists, it is not hard to envision violence will erupt. It is coming to the point if you don’t agree with their ideology, you can be in danger of physical harm. I believe if the Democrats re-gain the House & Senate and a Democrat wins the Presidency in 2020, we will see an explosion of violence toward political conservatives, Christian fundamentalists and observant Jews. They will go after conservative news media first, the remaining conservative college professors, on down the line. And I do believe they will eventually kill us. It will be a revived Holocaust but this time will extend beyond observant Jews.
And by the way, it baffles me why so many Jews in this country are liberal Democrats, especially after the way Obama treated Benjamin Netanyahu. And a bit of irony is that left-wing fascists, Democratic Socialists and white supremacists, KKK et al, all hate Israel.

Susan Lapin says:

Frederick, I agree that if the Democrats get in power they will do their best to totally quash any conservative movements. And they have a not insubstantial flank that does advocate violence as we’ve seen on college campuses.
I do want to correct one of your statements (and in general I dislike Holocaust analogies because they serve to downgrade what happened in Europe during those years) but all Jews or people with Jewish blood, including religious Catholics, Protestants and atheists, were Hitler’s targets. Religious observance was not a criteria for being murdered.
Years ago, my husband laid out in his book, America’s Real War, that there is a lot of confusion as to who the “Jewish community” is that the majority of those who reject adherence to the laws handed down by Moses would choose abortion over guaranteed safety for Jews and Israel.
We are actually looking for someone to help us prepare a second-edition of that book and for an individual or organization to sponsor the rewriting and publishing of it.

Frederick L Bradley says:

No offense intended in my statement about the Holocaust. It was a horrific event that occurred. Rather than using the word, “Holocaust”, I should have stated “bloodbath” for all who oppose the left-wing fascists. I pray daily for the peace of Jerusalem and firmly believe the Jews are God’s chosen people. God is not a liar and he did not break His covenant he made with Abraham. Blessings to you.

Susan Lapin says:

I certainly didn’t take offense. I just think that it is not a phrase to be tossed around and it has become so.

LJ says:

We’ve been acquiescing for many years through a modern and unelected administrative federal state for far too long. Policies are muddled and incoherent intentionally due to the ridiculous distractions thrown at us by those administrators who wish to remain in power!

Let’s “drain the swamp” said the (pseudo) Right’s President Elect Trump, “they’ve got six ways to Sunday” (to get their revenge) offered the Left’s Senator Chuck Schumer! Just you try it, Trump! You’ll see that they’ll get you! But he works with ‘friends’ on the political Right as well!

It is no wonder a curve ball with blades was thrown at Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. #Resist is the Left’s movement, with the Right’s blessing! Have you heard Mark Levin talking about Dr. Christine Ford’s legal funding and connections to George Soros? It’s totally predictable and sad that these people and organizations could possibly be connected together.

Fraudulent votes are also real. But we need more than good ethics in our elections: we need to cut the size of the federal and state beauracracies because they stand in the way of honest leadership. Men and women in Congress shouldn’t be in fear of an intelligence community (willing to lie), nor should they be able to be hijacked by it. Our representatives are dishonest because they are trapped by swamp creatures sucking off of the taxpayers. Negotiations are done in Washington, D.C.! The things that are negotiated(?) there: laws, rules and regulations that the people didn’t send their representatives to make up.

Susan Lapin says:

You are right and it can make us feel powerless. But we aren’t!

LJ says:

You’re right that we are not powerless, Susan. We can and should demand leaders to stop this insanity from taking place in the United States of America! Firing federal employees when they thwart justice should be done at once. For example, Lois Lerner, an IRS top lawyer should have been fired for allowing the crime of political targeting to take place against American taxpayers.

Susan Lapin says:

Oh, my, yes!!!

Rhenechia Jones says:

Great article as usual. Last week Senator Corey Booker and former VP Biden said they (the Democrats) were fighting for the soul of this nation. I thought how prophetic because people of faith are also fighting for the soul of this nation. What we are witnessing from all these accusations, destructive behaviors toward people who think differently than you, ending of friendships, and the obvious disregard of our rights guaranteed under the Constitution is spiritual warfare. When this firey missile was hurled last week at Judge Kavanaugh, these scriptures came to mind: ‘the devil goes to and fro seeking whom he may devour; the devil is the accuser of the brethren, and finally the entire book of Job.’ I am praying constantly for our nation and for those who are in leadership for we are indeed in a fight for our lives spiritually and nationally.

Susan Lapin says:

There is definitely a tussle for the soul of the nation, Rhenechia. That’s why it is so important for each of us to think clearly and speak up.

Deborah Leyde says:

Susan, Dale and I both love your thoughtful articles, and appreciate how well you make your points. We both love your writing, and even on this depressing topic, the encouragement you give on bearing the burden of some offense instead of hurting the other party with a useless apology. (Someone once “apologized” to me for “hating me.” I was unaware of her feelings, yet she felt compelled to clear her conscience. Blah – it did me NO good to know such a thing.) And I will also have to refrain from accepting any supreme court appointment, as when I was in first grade, I chased a boy around the desk with the threat of kissing him. Horrors! With great affection from your friends – Dale and Deb

Susan Lapin says:

Deb, I’m not sure I can still be friends with you after hearing about this sordid past! Actually, it is lovely to hear from you.
I saw on FB that you posted a meme about being a Grandma softy – one of my girls had just sent that to me! After Grandma Camp one of my little ones told her mother, “You’re so lucky Grandma was your mother.” Why did she say that? Because in her mind I fed her mother and siblings marshmallow fluff and chocolate spread sandwiches every day, which is the standard, nutritious Grandma Camp lunch. She didn’t believe her mother that she never, ever had a sandwich like that.

Marlin Voss says:

לב חכם לימינו ולב
כסיל לשמאלו
Is it not interesting how the conservatives and the liberals have come to be known the conservatives and the leftist? A wise man keeps his heart in his RIGHT hand while a fool’s heart is at his left? Amazing man Shlomo was in writing Ecclesiastes all those years ago. He must have had to deal with these same issues we are faced with today
Shabbat Shalom – Marlin

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