Sometimes I think that we are living in Chelm. The world is such a topsy-turvy place that we have difficulty prioritizing what is really important and what is frankly “shtus” (nonsense). There are so many important issues that we are facing at this time that require our immediate attention and prayers .We should not be allowed to be distracted by the media’s propensity for sensationalism.
One of the most pressing is President Trump’s meeting this week with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un in Singapore. It is an historic summit that, if successful, could affect everyone on this planet by preventing a nuclear war, or if, chas v’shalom, it goes badly (which would not be surprising, since the US is dealing with a lunatic who doesn’t care about his own people), we will be in greater danger than we were before. The ball is in Trump’s court, and many feel that he should demand that Kim make a serious commitment to begin working towards nuclear disarmament and that this should be the single focus of the meeting. The North Koreans have made pledges before, throughout the years (with Kim’s father and grandfather), and have always reneged at the end. This time, Kim must understand that the times are different and our president has no intention of being bamboozled the way President Clinton was. Any promises that Kim makes must be realistic and verifiable with regular inspections included in the deal.
The whole world is sitting with bated breath, waiting to see what these two leaders can come up with that will benefit everyone on this earth and make us safer. President Trump realizes that an agreement of this magnitude cannot happen overnight. It would be part of a “process” that will take a long time to show fruition. June 12 will be a “meet and greet” session, setting the stage for detailed and substantive talks in the near future. But in order to have success, North Korea must surrender its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. Kim has to realize that if these conditions are not agreed upon, President Trump could pull a Ronald Reagan and walk out of the talks.
The whole world is sitting with bated breath, waiting to see what these two leaders can come up with that will benefit everyone on this earth and make us safer
The United States has offered to help Kim with his most pressing problem: not having enough food to feed his people. When a North Korean soldier in 2017 defected, doctors found multiple forms of parasitic worms in his body. The defector attested to the fact that “everyone is hungry.” Many experts believe that at least half of North Korea’s population is likely to have parasites in their bodies due to food shortages.
We have other serious problems to deal with, as well (as if North Korea wasn’t enough). We Jews must be concerned with the escalating violence between Israel and Gaza – egged on, I’m sure, by Iran. Speaking of Iran, its Supreme Leader threatens to destroy Israel and is going to restart nuclear enrichment to create a bomb if the West will listen to President Trump and back away from the Iranian nuclear deal. Iran’s main purpose is to have hegemony in the Middle East, which would put Israel and the rest of us in danger of a nuclear attack.
On the domestic front, last Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of cake stylist Jack Phillips, who refused to create a confection for a same-sex couple. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission unjustly sanctioned Phillips when it ordered him to bake the custom cake for an event that he believed was against his religious beliefs. The Supreme Court‘s ruling is protecting the religious freedom of those of us who value the tenets of our faith and will not compromise them no matter what the prevailing cultural norm is. This decision is a victory for religious freedom, guaranteed to us in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, and could have tremendous ramifications down the road.
With all this going on, what is America and the media’s talking heads busy with? They are consumed with the vulgar rants of Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee and how Barr’s show was canceled by ABC and the latter was still on the air. Both women’s crass behavior is a disgrace, but wasting time on them is an even greater insult to our intelligence.
Another inane media obsession has been President Trump’s assessment that he could pardon himself if the Russian investigation got out of hand; President Trump sought to settle the widespread chatter over whether he’s considering exonerating himself and said that he had the right but wouldn’t do it anyway since he’s “done nothing wrong.”
Also in the major headlines is the fact that President Trump decided to disinvite the Philadelphia Eagles football team, who had won the Super Bowl, to the White House. This was a reaction to the fact the several of the players and coaches insultingly had opted not attend the event. These ingrate, malcontents are multimillionaires who could never have earned the kind of money they are making living in any other country but the United States of America. They, more than anyone, should value this country and what it stands for. Their obvious contempt is an embarrassment to all of us.
The real kicker is the press coverage of President Bill Clinton who got up from under his rock to peddle a book (the Clintons are incessantly looking to make money), having a field day over the reopening of Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky saga. Do we really care if he said he was sorry to Monica Lewinsky? Do we care about the Clintons altogether?
It is time to stop living in the fool’s paradise of Chelm and be cognizant that we are living in a precarious moment in history and don’t have the luxury to busy ourselves with trivial dribble. I think we definitely need a reality check.
Cynthia Zalisky is the Executive Director of the Queens Jewish Community. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org