Letters | Pittsburgh and Demagoguery

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Pittsburgh Pain in Philly

There is nothing I can say to lighten the pain of the families and the congregants victimized by the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. But I am grateful for the condolences offered to my wife and me by our non-Jewish friends. They understand that the Jewish people constitute one family.

I also appreciate the immediate and courageous intervention of the first responders, who risked their lives to minimize the tragedy. The history of the Jewish people informs us that we should not take such a response for granted.


Saul Axelrod | Elkins Park

Why Play a Demagogue’s Childish Game?

In a recent column, Editor-in-Chief Joshua Runyan suggests that Democrats are too “elitist” — i.e., effete and out of touch with real people — to “counter the president at his own game” in talking about the Central American refugee contingent (“Blowing a Fourth Quarter Lead,” Oct. 25).

In fact, the reason Democrats won’t play President Trump’s game is because Democrats recognize and reject demagoguery. The president’s attempt to arouse childish, hysterical, utterly unfounded fears among Americans over a group of people, mostly women with their children — people seeking asylum from lawless, chaotic, dangerously crime-ridden communities — is a classic case of demagoguery.

Since that column was published on Oct. 25, 11 Jews in Pittsburgh were killed by a maniac who was convinced that he had to take action against Jews because HIAS was in some magical way responsible for Trump’s looming refugee invasion. The lowest common denominator was manifested in mass murder of innocent people, murder driven by a delusional madman’s hatred of Jews, hatred essentially rooted in our spiritual commitment to welcoming the stranger.

So, the reason Jews are still “overwhelmingly Democratic” is that Democratic Party values resonate with Jewish values, while Republican values are incompatible with Jewish values. The reason Democrats do not play Trump’s game is because Democrats know that demagoguery is a direct path to the end of democracy. 

Howard Danksy | Glenside

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