Not only will Trump bring back the less-than-life-size Holy Family (available in a variety of skin tones to appeal to the newly all-inclusive GOP) but he is vowing to bring Christmas back to our public schools. What joyous memories that ignites. Jewish kids humming over the words Jesus and Christ in Christmas carols at Penn Wynn Elementary School. Gathering for Chapel every week at Ardmore Junior High where our beleaguered Jewish music teacher, Mr. Schwartz, lead us in singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
“In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea…..”
“NO! NO! NO” Mr. Schwartz would yell. “I am not hearing the eighth grade!”
The eighth grade screamed out the lyrics at the top of their lungs. Schwartz stopped us again.
“What happened to my ninth grade? Are you going to let the eighth grade beat you?”
By the end of the song, our voices were hoarse. We were red in the face, laughing hysterically, oblivious to the historic meaning of the song and its decidedly Christian slant. Was that Mr. Schwartz’ purpose? To make a mockery of Chapel and turn Lower Merion School District’s proscribed hymns into a shouting match? I don’t know. But I wasn’t surprised when I heard Schwartz died of a heart attack.
But what really got the RNC on their feet, hooting and hollering, was Trump’s promise to return to those halcyon days when everyone wished everyone else, regardless of religion, “Merry Christmas.” You know those cards that say Seasons Greetings and Happy Holidays? Trump is going to build a wall around them and make Hallmark pay for it!
Of course, there is one little wrinkle in Trump’s bear hug embrace of Christmas. His daughter Ivanka is Jewish. She converted in 2009 when she married Jared Kushner and is raising her children in the Jewish faith. So how will this play out for Trump’s return to Christmas Past? Will there be a giant menorah next to the White House Christmas tree? (Trump’s pal David Duke won’t like that.) Will Trump get down on the carpet and teach his Jewish grandchildren how to be a “winner” with a dreidel? Will Melania make latkes? Or will the Trump clan do what most Jews do at Christmas, go to Florida and eat Chinese?
A wise friend tells me she is not watching the Convention. But I can’t look away. It’s like watching a 200 car pile-up on the Expressway. Horrific, frightening, yet somehow addictive. I am fascinated by the three-card monte game of States rights versus Federal law. Republicans do not want Washington legislating their healthcare, who they serve in their businesses, or what kind of carcinogenic crap they dump into their rivers, but they want to tell women what to do with their reproductive system and ban same-sex marriage. In a moment of orgiastic frenzy, one of the Convention speakers announced that states were meant to be “different.” Yeh, right. That’s why I grew up with a morbid fear of the South, was distrustful of the Midwest and, frankly, was dubious of Texas.
Trump is not only rebranding himself and the Republican Party but, if elected, he appears to be rebranding America. Goodbye Melting Pot. Hello Onward Christian Soldiers. Wherever Mr. Schwartz is, I think he’s having another heart attack.