The way we were

Sid and I don’t have cable so we watch several channels that show old movies and retro TV shows. One of our favorites is GET TV which this week aired a 1967 Merv Griffin (Show) interview of Richard Nixon before he announced his candidacy for president. I was too young at the time to remember or probably care but now, in retrospect watching from the perspective of having lived so many years, I couldn’t help but feel more than just nostalgia. . .

I realized how much I missed the gentle, yet incisive, demeanor of interviewers like Merv Griffin. I appreciated David Susskind’s ability to challenge Nixon in a way that engaged the audience to think. From a historical perspective I listened to Nixon’s comments and appreciated his statesmanship even if I disagreed with some of his statements. In listening to the rationale of the issues of the day, and especially approaches to the Viet Nam war, it was clear that the unknowns of the future are what they are. All that can be expected is for each president to act to the best of his (or her) ability given what is known at the time. In that very challenge is the need to trust a power greater than any individual’s, that of our Abba. Especially is this important for a president whose decisions are so far reaching and unknowable given the extraordinary uncertainties inevitably part of the high stake situations that must be handled by that office.

We are one nation under God, indivisible. Nixon’s major point was no matter what the differences on issues, perhaps a more important goal is for our country to not be divided. Not only is that important domestically, but perhaps moreso, internationally. The slogans, “United we stand, divided we fall,” “Divide and conquer,” are perhaps all the more relevant in today’s world. For the enemy nips at the edges and plays up the differences in an attempt to gain a stronghold.

No matter our politics, I hope we all can work toward healing the schisms, at all levels. And yes, it is beyond discouraging when leaders act otherwise for they are the ones whose behaviors we are to emulate. So if we can’t get it from the top, I encourage you to lead it from the grassroots – to not forget that above all we, who walk in Yeshua’s footsteps, are to model lives of love, not hate.

Did Yeshua go with the flow? Of course not! He was a beacon of light for change. And yes, He had those pivotal moments, as when he turned over the tables of the money changers on the Temple steps. Yet the trajectory of Yeshua’s life was to take the hits and be an example of change through a life that modeled what is most important – focus on our Abba. Through living lives dedicated to HaShem will the world be changed, one person at a time.

It was of the evil one and how he influenced human choices of response that mankind could experience perhaps the greatest schism of all time, that between Judaism and Christianity through the misunderstanding of who Yeshua is to the Jews. Yet the human timeline is but a blink to HaShem as even this schism is starting to heal. When we see intense controversy and discord, we have the choice in our actions and words of how to respond – do we fan the flame or speak reason, even into situations seemingly impossible to moderate. So must have Yeshua felt as he challenged the leaders at the time.

As we put HaShem front and center in our discussions and thoughts for what is right for our country and how we communicate that, we will be one step closer to “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

May this be a . . .

Shabbat shalom.

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