[Of related interest, by yours truly:
“Outer Boroughs Affect: Why Snobs Like Charles Murray Won’t Vote for Trump (Despite Agreeing with Him).”]
By Nicholas Stix
Once upon a time, The Forward was a literate, weekly, English-language newspaper mixing socialist and neo-conservative writers (1990-2000). That time is past. (Its previous history—1897-1990—was as a socialist daily written in Yiddish. I probably wouldn’t have liked it then, if I could have read it. In 2000, the socialists re-asserted themselves, and threw neocon editor Seth Lipsky (1990-2000) overboard. It now promotes a mix of racial socialism, anti-Semitism, and militant homosexualism.)
For years, I have complained of the intellectual and moral crisis among American Jews, Left and Right, whereby Jewish intellectual and political life, once a world of brilliance, creativity, and meritocracy, whose brightest stars typically had attended the City College of New York, has been taken over by well-connected mediocrities with OPU (overpriced, private universities) degrees.
I had originally intended this essay to be a comment at the article, but realized that The Forward’s thread Nazi would just delete it, the way she/he/it (s/h/it, for short) deleted all but one insignificant comment of mine at its 100th birthday tribute to Kirk Douglas. All of the 11 deleted comments were either ones I’d responded to, mine, or ones responding to me. They left one, unimportant comment of mine to make it look as though they’re not tyrants.
How My Jewish Working Class Background Taught Me About Donald Trump
By Sharon Pomerantz
January 3, 2017
We live in a time of easy slogans and overly rigid categories. Since the election, countless pundits and friends have told me that I need to better understand white working class America. I’m now considered a member of the liberal media elite, or however you want to call someone who’s published a novel, earned a graduate degree and taught at a university. But I wouldn’t be here if my white working class parents hadn’t labored and sacrificed, saving every penny, forgoing vacations, rarely eating out or buying new clothes. They didn’t glorify working on an assembly line or praise the advantages of physical labor. They didn’t look down on those jobs, but they wanted an easier life for me. I went through college and graduate school on scholarships, fellowships, and student loans—which I paid off at age 40. I worked through high school and college. One year I cleaned the dorm rooms of my classmates after they’d left for the summer. Elite, my ass.
My paternal grandfather tanned belts in a factory. He died of leukemia likely connected to the chemicals he handled for years without gloves. My father worked in a wholesale hardware warehouse. It had no windows, no heat in winter (he wore long underwear beneath his uniform) and no air-conditioning. During the brutal Philadelphia summers of my childhood, I was tasked with turning on the air conditioners in the living room and my parents’ bedroom at 6 p.m. to cool the house off enough before he got home at 6:30. He’d go immediately from the car, through the kitchen door, kiss my mother, and rush up the steps to the shower. In the early 1970s, the Teamsters had tried unsuccessfully to unionize his warehouse. To keep the unions out, the owners finally decided to give their employees some benefits. My father had worked there for almost ten years before our family received health insurance.
The Depression kept many of the brightest people in my parents’ families from going to college. Three of my uncles worked for the post office, raising their families on tiny salaries but the promise of a better-funded retirement with a government pension (two words you rarely hear anymore unless you’re a member of Congress). My mother started out as a secretary, but later became a teaching assistant in a pre-school. She’d have made an excellent teacher but didn’t have the degree.
They were all proud Democrats. Everyone read a daily newspaper. Their strong public school educations, keen minds and life experience made them critical thinkers. They debated issues. They stayed informed. They voted. My parents especially hated lying, anti-Semitic and racist Richard Nixon, or Tricky Dicky as he was referred to in our house. The first PG-rated movie they ever let me see was “All the Presidents’ Men.”
“The greatest stunt the Republicans ever pulled,” my father liked to say, “was convincing working people to vote against their best interests.” During his too brief retirement, Dad sometimes listened to right wing radio and watched Fox News because he said we needed to know what we were up against.
I’m grateful Dad didn’t live to see the election of Donald Trump. My friends worry about how to tell their children, what to say about the hate and lying, but children are resilient, and they will, I pray, live to see better. I’m more concerned about the elderly, especially my 84-year-old mother.
“This might have been my last time voting in a presidential election,” she told me, sounding sick. “What’s happened to this country?” She worries about the brain drain if immigration is further restricted. Her neighborhood is full of doctors, scientists and teachers from other countries.
I know what it feels like to watch a father come home injured from work and not be able to take enough time off to heal properly, or a mother cry for fear we won’t be able to pay the bills. I don’t have the answers for the unemployed coal miners, the factory workers who are now stuck at Walmart for far less money, the young people in lousy high schools who can’t even afford to dream of college. But I doubt the people they helped elect have those answers either. They’d rather distract us with blame and scapegoating (Mexicans, American Muslims, the biased liberal media), and worse yet, I really don’t think they give a damn.
Sharon Pomerantz is the author of “Rich Boy.”
N.S.: This essay is a failure. The most charitable interpretation is that Sharon Pomerantz wrote an essay about growing up a working-class Jew, and editors at The Forward clumsily re-worked it. One editor wrote the title, which didn’t fit the content, and a second editor added the deus ex machina ending, to try and match the title. And yet, the ending still doesn’t tell us what the author’s background “taught [her] about Donald Trump.”
Screw the charity. Even the body of the essay is stupid. Where’s the humor, the irony, the facts, the logic?
Good that her late parents were hard-working, but all she cites of them intellectually are their idiotic political opinions. Most Jews, whether they work in warehouses or as rocket scientists, are imbeciles, when it comes to politics.
Her father hated Nixon—the best friend Israel ever had. Nixon saved Israel’s bacon, and made a Jew the second most powerful man in the country. Oh, but her father said Nixon was an “anti-Semite.” Why didn’t he call FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter or Clinton anti-Semitic? Because they were all Democrats!
Nixon also supported massive affirmative action, unlike Lyndon Johnson, who was much more of a racist, not to mention school busing for racial integration. Heck, all of the Democrat presidents before Nixon, with the possible exception of Kennedy, were more racist than he was. And All the President’s Men was a phony story conjured up to cover for the seditious, criminal conspiracy Bernstein and Woodward were a part of, in the offices of the Washington Post.
Obama is the worst anti-Semite to occupy the Oval Office since the founding of modern Israel (and a raging racist), but 80% of Jewish voters chose him twice, and Jews gave him millions of dollars.
Sharon Pomerantz is also lousy on history and economics. In her mother’s generation, only a small percentage of people attended college, and most middle-class professions did not require a college diploma. Before Griggs v. Duke Power, many companies gave job applicants aptitude tests.
If a young woman in New York City was bright enough, she could attend Hunter (teaching) College for free. Ditto for California. In New York City and elsewhere, people who wanted to enter professions that required college degrees attended night and summer school. By the time Pomerantz’ mother turned 18 (1950), the depression was long past. She probably just wasn’t bright enough.
“… government pension (two words you rarely hear anymore unless you’re a member of Congress).”
Every full-time civil servant who puts in the requisite years on the job gets a government pension.
How does this work as a criticism of Donald Trump?
“Everyone read a daily newspaper.”
At the time, virtually every New Yorker who was literate read at least one daily newspaper, and millions read two—a morning and an evening paper. That did not make them college material.
Her relatives’ “keen minds”: She provides no support for this claim, while giving grounds for doubting it.
“Unemployed coal miners”: It is Obama who went out of his way to try and destroy the coal industry, and Hillary Clinton, who bragged that she was going to put coal miners out of work.
“Factory workers”: Obama never showed any compassion for these people, while Trump put them front and center in his campaign.
“Young people in lousy high schools who can’t even afford to dream of college.” No such citizens exist in this country.
“They’d rather distract us with blame and scapegoating (Mexicans, American Muslims, the biased liberal media), and worse yet, I really don’t think they give a damn.”
How is it “scapegoating” to blame Mexican illegal aliens for all the terrible crimes they’ve committed against Americans, or the evil media for trying to rig the election? As for American Moslems, Trump didn’t attack them. The notion that Trump doesn’t give a damn is transparently dishonest, like just about everything else in Pomerantz’ nonsensical rant. (And why would a Jew be obsessed with protecting Moslems?!)
“I’m grateful Dad didn’t live to see the election of Donald Trump. My friends worry about how to tell their children, what to say about the hate and lying, but children are resilient, and they will, I pray, live to see better. I’m more concerned about the elderly, especially my 84-year-old mother.”
The foregoing is drama queen preening, by people who don’t realize how laughable they are, which has been a staple of the irony-deficient since the election.
“‘This might have been my last time voting in a presidential election,’ she told me, sounding sick. ‘What’s happened to this country?’ She worries about the brain drain if immigration is further restricted. Her neighborhood is full of doctors, scientists and teachers [!] from other countries.”
Pomerantz’ mother evidently does not understand what the phrase “brain drain” means, because she uses it in the opposite sense of its meaning and common usage. It is the countries that the doctors, etc. fled, which suffered, and continue to suffer a “brain drain.” Are Pomerantz and The Forward’s editors ignorant of the phrase’s meaning, or are they completely dishonest?
Are mother and daughter unaware that America was the world’s science and technology leader, before any of those foreign geniuses came here? Do they not know that we somehow beat two of the greatest military machines in the history of the world, in spite of lacking second-rate Indian doctors and computer techies?
Being a brain-dead Democrat is a proud Jewish tradition. My Hungarian-born Nana (1893-1976) was the salutatorian at her Lower East Side grammar school (which was all the formal schooling she ever got), and used to finish the New York Times crossword puzzle every Sunday, and solved the Quote-Acrostic and other Olympian word games in the Saturday Review. And yet, Nana once told me that she didn’t need to even read the names of the candidates for office on Election Day. All she needed to do was see the “Democratic Party” column, and turn all the switches, all the way down the line.
Why does Sharon Pomerantz vilify Donald Trump? Because she, like her parents, is a brain-dead Democrat.
The Forward has really gone to hell. I’m not a big Seth Lipsky fan, but when he edited the paper (1990-2000), its intellectual and journalistic quality was head and shoulders over its current fare.