Ever since Donald Trump took office, a term has been floating around the mainstream media to describe how the President presents his arguments: “without evidence.” It seems as though whenever the President makes an assertion, the media is quick to point out how there is no actual evidence to support his claims. The most notable events that received this disclaimer were the reports surrounding the two elections involving him. In 2016, Trump issued an unsubstantiated claim that he had actually won the popular vote despite not having any factual basis for making such a statement. He then took it a step further this year when he made claims about rampant voter fraud across the nation (but of course only in the states he lost).

 The 2020 election has come and gone, and at the time of writing, Joe Biden has won the presidency. While the House and Senate are still not officially called, it looks like the Republicans will hold the Senate, keeping about the same advantage they held until now, while the Democrats will hold the House, losing a number of seats. Unfortunately, we still have a ways to go before we see the actual final results for the next two years. President Trump is beginning his lawsuits, many races have yet to be officially called, and we will be watching not one, but two Senate seats up for grabs in a Georgia runoff. Until all that dust settles, we won’t be able to really begin to comprehend the policy changes that we can expect over the next two years, and for now, I am going to hold off on those predictions. For now, I want to focus on what the two major political parties should take away from the 2020 elections, and why they will both fail to do so.

In the past few weeks, there have been heavy discussions around two topics related to education. The more prominent is the closure of public schools in New York City, and with the recent rise in COVID cases nationwide, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to assume that there will be more cities across the country to follow suit. The second discussion has been regarding student loan forgiveness. This one is based on a suggestion from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, that President-Elect Joe Biden can issue an executive order to cancel student loans up to $50,000. While these two issues seem to only be connected as far as they both relate to education, they are actually very much comparable when you look at who they benefit and who they leave in the dust.

So here we are. One week before Election Day. The fate of the next four years will be decided this Tuesday. Once again, we hear the same old tropes: “This is the most important election in history,” and, “The future of the nation in your hands.” We have an endless stream of “get out the vote” movements, whether from pop culture, sports, social media, or a random ad on a YouTube video. There’s early voting, mail-in voting, absentee voting, and it’s hard to remember, but you are allowed to vote on Election Day itself. Regardless of how you choose to get your information or entertainment, you are being told to vote.

 “This week 82 years ago, Kristallnacht happened. Kristallnacht, also known as the ‘Night of Broken Glass,’ occurred the night of November 9-10, 1938, when Nazis killed nearly 100 people and vandalized thousands of Jewish businesses and synagogues. It was the Nazis’ warning shot across the bow of our human civilization that led to genocide against a whole identity and, in that tower of burning books, it led to an attack on fact, knowledge, history and proof. After four years of a modern-day assault on those same values by Donald Trump, the Biden-Harris team pledges a return to normal.”

This week’s parshah (I know, not how I tend to start a column) lends us a hand in understanding two very different mentalities currently at odds with each other in this country. Noach is described as an ish tzadik tamim haya b’dorosav, being a righteous and pure man of his generation. Rashi discusses the two ways to read this pasuk. The first is that Noach was a righteous man in a terrible generation, and had he existed in a different time, he would have been even greater. Opposing that is the opinion that Noach was only great in comparison to his terrible generation, but had he existed in a time period with greater men, he would not have been of note.