Because He Is Now A Survivor

Dov Fischer, Spectator

1. Me

A bit more than a decade ago, I worked at a nightmarish place for nearly three years. Although I had been quite the outspoken type for many decades since my youth, my subsequent quarter-century of maturation included learning for several years at a great seminary for rabbinical ordination, earning a graduate degree in American history, ten years in the pulpit, thereafter studying at a great law school, serving as Chief Articles Editor of law review, then clerking for a brilliant and dignified United States federal appeals court judge, and next litigating for more than a decade in big-firm law practice at two of the nation’s firms that demand the highest standards of excellence and professional comportment. In other words, I had matured, cooled off, calmed down, and moderated my temperament. In particular, the legal training and those second-career professional experiences changed me dramatically, as did the humbling experience of my first marriage of twenty-five years ending and the further calming effect of proceeding a year later to meet and marry the love of my life, my true life partner of these past eighteen years. I had dramatically moderated my style. I evolved to a new credo: Avoid making enemies. Stake out positions, but don’t push envelopes. Strive to be liked by everyone.

And then came those three jolting years. That vicious and despicable experience was so jarring, so disruptive to my core, my soul, and my essence — and also to my wife and my still-innocent then-adolescent son, both of whom personally were subjected directly to behavior that only G-d could punish — that I have not been the same person since. In public settings, I remain externally as properly restrained, jokey and good-humored, and as temperamentally dignified as anyone would expect from any seriously stationed rabbi of three decades or law professor of two. But my inner core is transmogrified. I no longer am moderated by a desire to be liked by everyone. I tried that, and I never ever will do that again. In short, the persecution and sustained three years of public efforts to destroy me — even to ruin my family — actually resulted in the opposite: they liberated me, and they persuaded me that there is no compromise with evil. Be true to your soul. The wounds have healed, but the scars remain. I am a Survivor. If they are going to war against you, at least know that you fought true to the last ounce of your core. Forget about getting them to like you. The heck with them. Just stand for what you know is right.

2. Trump

The Donald J. Trump who initially campaigned for President in 2016, escalator stuff and all, was quite unrestrained on the issue of borders and immigration from Day One. But at the beginning of that campaign, one of the great unknowns was whether Mr. Trump truly would prove to be a consistently and reliably conservative Republican President — or whether he would float and shift towards being a populist ready to adopt even Democrat liberal positions for the “art of the deal.” Yes, he talked tough on China and on business regulations, but he also initially sent several very mixed signals on a wide range of social and foreign policy issues.

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