Thank you to all the readers who sent me emails. Some were very empathetic, some were a bit tense, but I cherish every interaction. And, of course, I enjoyed the general compliments on the …
Thank you to all the readers who sent me emails. Some were very empathetic, some were a bit tense, but I cherish every interaction. And, of course, I enjoyed the general compliments on the writing!
Today, I want to say good things about Governor Cuomo. Firstly, Jews owe a debt of gratitude to Italians. Jews lived happily and peacefully in Italy for many hundreds of years. When Hitler controlled Italy, Italians defied his orders to hand over Jews, more than most other nations. Cuomo is of Italian descent and we should always remember people who did good.
Secondly, Cuomo himself is very talented and has done a lot of good things for the country. Of course, on some important policies in general, I disagree with him ideologically, but still, his talents and efforts are praiseworthy. I won't be surprised to see him in the White House one day. May G-d be with him and may he be a force of good for the entire country.
In my previous article, I mainly criticized his words, not his actions. I don't want to judge his actions since we are in very difficult times. However, his words were very harmful and counterproductive to the very goal he wanted to achieve.
To our chagrin, this did not abate over the last two weeks. Finally, this past Sunday was the first time he had a productive phone conversation with Jewish leaders, and it seems that tones will quiet down. Please G-d, may it be so very very soon!
Also, the number of cases is significantly down in our community. May healing descend on the entire world very soon! And may the youth everywhere recover from the harm caused by school closures!
I was thinking back to when else a government official's words made citizens of this country extremely uncomfortable. The only parallel I found was when President Trump made Hispanic Americans and Muslim Americans feel very uneasy with his words.
It's one thing to enact policy to curb immigration, it's another thing to speak ill about citizens who will then feel uneasy in their own skin. It's one thing to enforce Covid laws, it's another thing to speak ill about citizens who will then feel uneasy in their own skin. There is a very big difference between action and words. Words can cause harm for many generations.
Fascinatingly enough, two weeks ago, the Agudah, a leading Jewish organization, argued in court that Governor Cuomo's actions were discriminatory by pointing to the words he used. The Governor's legal team responded that the court should not look at the words but at the executive order.
They showed precedent in the Supreme Court's decision to uphold Trump's ban on immigration because it was not legally discriminatory, even though his words were.
To his credit, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio (also Italian descent!), kept to this commonsensical distinction. He enforced the law, but he did not rant and rave with words that hurt people. I'm very grateful to him for that.
To turn this darkness into light, I made a resolution for myself to speak up when such a thing occurs. I was not a writer when Trump made those comments, but in the future, if I hear words that defame or cause specific people to feel uneasy, I'll speak up. I felt it now on myself.
I'm not for “politically correct” talk; I'm for “morally correct” talk. For sure, sometimes policy and laws can make people upset, but words are a different story. The same distinction must be made between talking policy or ideology.
When words are used, even harshly, to promote a certain policy that's one thing, but they may not be used to talk against specific people, no matter what.
Comments? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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