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What’s wrong with America?

Recently on a Shabbos in the Young Israel of KGH it was gratifying to hear Rabbi Schonfeld acknowledge in public from the pulpit my cause of mandating teaching "character development" in public schools. I believe he felt the legitimacy of that cause when he heard from the Republican Convention nominee and other(s) who spoke there, the public acceptance of LGBTQ. In the past one would have heard references to that only from the Democratic party. The truth is that if the Republican party would shut out or shun this group, I don’t think they’d have a chance to win in the general, not only because of this group but because of others such as the millennials, independents and single women who feel that the civil rights movement should apply to the LGBT group as well. When Trump signals that he’s with the modern times regarding this, the signal goes far and wide.

But leaving the politics aside and looking at it from a moral standpoint, I can see how many have consternation about the extent of mainstreaming some of these modern phenomena. I think an honest assessment would dictate the claim that among young people there is much acting out in the sexual arena resulting in some school districts handing out birth control to 11 year olds, sexual assaults on the part of insecure males and emotional confusion which makes children at a young age decide that they are of the wrong gender. When we were young, a girl with boyish tendencies was known to be a Tomboy and a boy with feminine-like qualities found his identity nonetheless, maybe by dancing ballet. These days a child who doesn’t fit the typical gender types can feel compelled to take on the identity of another gender. I don’t think this is an organic solution to such a child’s emotional needs.

In the Democratic convention speech President Obama proclaimed that we are the same America as the characterization of America that he learned about from his Kansas grandparents. At other times, he has said that he cringed when his (white) grandmother would say things about young black men, and throughout his presidency has seemed in general to have set aside his white roots only to lend his voice to past grievances done to Islamic countries (a seeming loyalty to his father’s legacy) and to current grievances of young black youth against (the systemically) racist police or whites. We saw this misguided allegiance from Obama in the incident of (the thuggish predator as established in the trial) Treivon Martin who was killed by a half Hispanic, voluntary neighborhood watchman in self defense when Obama opined that Treivan could have been his "son” and when he expressed condolence and sorrow for the loss of life of Michael Brown who was killed by a white officer when Brown attacked the officer and grabbed for the officer’s gun.

In the convention speech Obama told how his grandparents in America’s heartland "explained that folks in these parts, they didn’t like show-offs. They didn’t admire braggarts or bullies. They didn’t respect mean-spiritedness, or folks who were always looking for shortcuts in life. Instead, what they valued were traits like honesty and hard work, kindness, courtesy, humility, responsibility, helping each other out. That’s what they believed in. True things. Things that last. The things we try to teach our kids... My grandparents knew these values weren’t reserved for one race. They could be passed down to a half-Kenyan grandson, or a half-Asian granddaughter. In fact, they were the same values Michelle’s parents, the descendants of slaves, taught their own kids...America has changed over the years. But these values that my grandparents taught me -- they haven’t gone anywhere. They’re as strong as ever, still cherished by people of every party, every race, every faith. They live on in each of us. What makes us American, what makes us patriots is what’s in here. That’s what matters. (Applause.)”

But America has changed over the years. Two parent families for the overall American population has decreased from almost 90% in 1960 to 65% in 2015 and in the African-American population in 1960 at 65% is 35% currently. Academia makes fun of American traditional values and if anyone wants to posit an opinion to the contrary at our colleges and universities they are not allowed to speak. Academia teaches that America or the West is at the root of much of the unrest in today’s global conflicts.

Recently, I went to a symposium in Manhattan, where the theme of Islamic terrorism was discussed and it was explained that much of the current chaos of the Islamic world has to do with the Colonial powers and how Islam has never since found its own footing. Similarly, this is how we are taught to understand the problems in urban low-income black neighborhoods - all going back to slavery and Jim Crowe laws, redlining and discriminatory real estate practices, underfunding of schools and not “creating” jobs in those areas that don’t allow blacks to integrate into the American mainstream.

It is in fact this anti traditional view of America that Obama really believes in. Obama becomes a traditionalist only when it comes time to getting independent white people’s votes. Contrary to the claim that Obama makes when he pays homage to the American values of his grandparents, he really believes what the uber left believes and what we are taught in academia, mainstream media and from Hollywood movies and the music industry that America is racist, homophobic, Islamiphobic and mysoginstic.

Obama’s and Hillary’s America is the opposite of traditional Judaeo Christian ethics and often puts the blame at traditional America and what it stood for. Why would Hillary parade at her convention the mothers of slain criminals by the police or others who shot them in self defense? Why wouldn’t she at least also honor the wives or children of slain cops who were killed by criminals? Instead of a healing formula this is a recipe for America’s breakdown.

America’s problems go far and wide. America’s youth and adults alike have a big problem with heroin and other opioids causing accidental deaths in the 10’s of thousands yearly. There’s much violence in urban minority neighborhoods such as in Chicago, Detroit and Wash. D.C. in gang shootings. Nationally, 5,000 blacks are killed yearly, mostly by other blacks. Too many American young people being are seduced in their desperation to find an identity for themselves by foolishly follow ISIS to commit terrorism. Racial tensions are worse now than they’ve been in decades. There been an epidemic of cyber bullying that has caused some victims to tragically take their own lives. Suicides for the general population have increased 24% in the last 15 years in this country. For years we have talked about America’s students being 25th best among the industrialized nations or our 30% high school drop-out rate but but no one has figured out what to do about it.

This obviously has much to do with children being raised in single parent homes or even from 2 parent homes whose parents are not as dedicated to parenting as they used to be with the traditional values that Obama, now for the first time in 8 years, has mentioned. Children today are not psychologically as grounded and loved as they used to be. Religious influence has decreased as well. Society talks all around these societal problems but they don’t get to the m’kor (essence) of the issue and that is that children need to be raised with both love and moral guidance to be happy and productive.

When I go to the politicians (Queens Library Director of Programs, assemblyman, my councilman, a neighboring councilwoman, my borough president, the mayor’s wife who is involved with NYC mental health, city’s chancellor of education, my state senator, a neighboring state senator and my congresswoman or the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton) to present my proposal of character education, I am either totally ignored or if lucky enough to get a meeting or response, I am later ignored. Those I’ve gotten to speak with agree with the idea but seem to say in one way or another that there has to be grassroots support for the idea before they can get behind it. I did not contact Donald Trump because his platform already encompasses free choice in education which would address the issue of quality and character education through having choices where parents could send their children for that quality education.

Traditional segments of society should come together and demand that this country once again stand for traditional values. We should demand either more charter schools many of which have character development programs or mandated character programs in public schools. Right now the addictive iPhones and addictive violent video games, violent action movies and horrendous lyrics of killing cops and abusing women from popular hip hop artists, are raising America’s youth. Even Beyonce, who performed at Obama’s first inaugural dance, appears in one of her videos mocking cops and smashing car windows with a bat (such as you’d see in a riot). America is suffering from a character deficit and what goes on in the general culture comes around to the frum community as well and we are feeling the brunt of it.

We know that Donald Trump is a much flawed individual. He makes irresponsible public utterances at times and it bothers me that apparently he had a seemingly bogus real estate Trump University and refused to reimburse the students their hefty tuition in whole or in part when they complained about it, but at least Trump is shining a light on much of what is wrong with the current America - hence the mantra to make “America great again”. Hillary is incapable of separating herself from the uber left, the lies of the Black Lives Matter movement and the lie that there is no Terrorist Islam. I think she has strayed too far from the reservation.

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