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Civil Discourse

01/23/2020 10:53:09 AM


Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

I have felt compelled during this somber period in our history to watch the Impeachment trial of the President, as I have a responsibility as a citizen to be informed of the words of both the House Managers and the Defense Team. Much to my dismay, the tone gradually increased in emotion, and uncivil discourse rang through the hallowed halls of the Senate. I must commend Chief Justice Roberts for chastising both sides for a lack of civil discourse. He recognized what I have spoken about over this past year: a lack of civil discourse emanating from Washington, DC. When our elected leaders speak in an uncivil manner, be it within or without Congress, they model what they deem acceptable behavior for all Americans, and that cannot be the standard. Most particularly during an Impeachment trial, civil discourse must rule. I seek it any time and any place anyone in Congress speaks. Anything less gives us permission to imitate them, H speech and all. I was particularly pleased to hear on the news that a senator congratulated a House Manager on a thorough and well-done presentation, even though they are of different political parties. It remains to be seen if decorum will continue throughout the trial.

The trial calls to mind the words of Psalm 82, recited on Tuesday morning in synagogues:

                God rises in the court of the mighty, pronouncing judgment over judges:

                “How long will you pervert justice? How long will you favor the wicked?

                Champion the weak and the orphan; uphold the downtrodden and destitute.

                Rescue the weak and the needy; save them from the grip of the wicked.”

               But they neither know nor understand; they wander about in darkness while the earth’s                       foundations are shaken.

               I thought you were Godlike, children of the Most High, but you will die like mortals;                              like any prince will you fall.

                Arise, O God, and judge the earth, for Your dominion is over all nations.


I pray that the Psalmist is wrong. I hope that the trial is fair and just, and that all one hundred senators carefully weigh all of the evidence and vote their conscience, not their party. All of us want to have faith in the system.


Mon, March 30 2020 5 Nisan 5780