Jonathan Kraut: Forgetting the concept of ‘ours’


This year the first day of the Jewish Passover, on a Friday, and the Roman Catholic Easter, celebrated immediately on Sunday, seemed to miraculously suit the narrative the we have all been taught.

But, more often than not, the coincidences between the two calendars, the Jewish lunar-based year of 12 months and 354 days or sometimes 13 months and 384 days, and the Gregorian (modern calendar) with 12 months and 365 or 366 days based on the solar cycle, rarely are in sync.

Moreover, many Christian denominations celebrate Easter on a different schedule. The Greek Orthodox Church for example uses the Julian calendar establishing Easter this year on April 9.

No one is going to war over these different forms of keeping time.

Differences, like various methods of tracking the passage of time, are natural and, in the end, is what makes humanity interesting.

But, if you are a sincere citizen and neighbor and you are trying to support political candidates and policies using your moral compass, there is a big challenge.

Your moral compass may be, and most likely is, pointing in a completely different direction than that of your candidates and others who help govern and administer our needs.

Moral conduct, just like competing faith calendars, is not a clear set of virtues based on fact. Rather, codes of conduct and morality seem to be a non-binding set of opinions based on numerous variables to include faith, social customs, nationality, heritage, family influences and personal experiences.

That is why politicians just stick to the basics: they are for education and teachers, they are against higher taxes, they are for a strong police/military, against crime, against big government and waste and claim to hear your voices.

It seems to me that Americans tend not to dwell on personal conduct or morality as issues.

If you favor their political party label, are comfortable with their mannerisms, speech and physical appearance and they support at least one of your core issues, they’re in.

That’s why Evangelicals, vowing to back those who harmonize with their ideals, for example, overlook their codes of moral conduct when supporting the philandering, welching, braggadocio, self-absorbed, perpetually lying Donald Trump. The bottom line is that morality doesn’t seem to really matter even to the most righteous.

And taking this idea a step further, even egregious misconduct, whether a criminal transgression by a habitual felon who gets yet another slap on the wrist or moral transgression by a politician who cheats on his or her spouse, doesn’t matter in America either.

It’s not that Americans, or one party or the other for that matter, are corrupt. It is that our core choices are made based on party label, physical representation and at least one core issue.

If you agree with me so far, then I ask why rely on this illusion of a “moral code” to exclude any group from joining our comfortable but simplistic American clan.

Are we committed to excluding those whose homelands use different calendars from adapting to our systems of calculating time? Can we say that those fleeing the poorest corners of Africa can’t rise to prosperity? Can we really state that Muslims who will honor our nation do not belong here among us?

The same arguments of exclusion had once applied to Latin Americans, before them Jews, before them Italians, before them the Irish, before them African Americans, and before them Native Americans. Yet, integration and assimilation has made us stronger, both nationally and here in Santa Clarita.

The notion of this land is “ours” implies ownership and a moral high ground.

I would ask someone making this argument to accept that we, meaning whoever is here now, were not here first and will not be here last. The concept that this valley, this state or this country is “ours” really means “mine.”

To be “ours” means shared. Since no two persons precisely agree on everything or morally concur on everything means there is no “ours.”

I advocate we forget the moral compass and this imaginary concept of “ours” or even “mine.”

Let’s go with supporting those who are creating opportunities for others who come after us with the same hopes as our predecessors, who spend our money thoughtfully and wisely, and who are open to ideas, no matter which calendar they follow.

Jonathan Kraut directs private investigations and private security firms, is a published author, Democratic Party activist, and SCV Interfaith Council member. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations.

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