Bob Schwartz

“Trump wrongly claims his dad was born in Germany — for the third time”

Fred Trump, Born in the U.S.A.

Trump may be the biggest idiot in America. Or he deserves our compassion for his cognitive challenges.

Washington Post:

Trump wrongly claims his dad was born in Germany — for the third time
Trump claims his father was born in Germany

Speaking to reporters April 2, President Trump said his father “was born in a very wonderful place in Germany.” Fred Trump was born in New York.

Of all the odd, counterfactual and conspiratorial claims President Trump has made over the past four years or so, this one may take the cake: He said Tuesday that his father was born in Germany, even though he wasn’t.

It is at least the third time he has said this.

“My father is German — was German,” Trump said. “Born in a very wonderful place in Germany, so I have a great feeling for Germany.”

This is not true. Fred Trump is of German descent, and his father was a German immigrant. But Fred Trump was born in New York.

If you ask most adults—and many children—they can tell you what country their parents were born in. You probably know what country your parents were born in. Maybe there are cases where parents were unclear or unsure, or wanted to hide their origins, but otherwise most people know.

It is possible that given Trump’s predilection to lie, this is just one more. On the other hand, maybe he is cognitively off balance, and he has actually forgotten where his father was born. Either way, every attempt by those who know where their parents were born to escape the Twilight Zone has once again been thwarted. It’s been surreal.

Democrats are looking for a phenom. They may have found one—if they can handle it.

“Phenom” is a fascinating English word. It was first used in 1890, to describe an inordinately talented young baseball player on a trajectory to be a superstar. Short for “phenomenon,” it has mostly passed out of usage, but remains an excellent descriptor.

Democrats have had recent experience with a presidential phenom. Obama was just 43 when he started to go supernova at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. A few years later, his talent and person would take him, against all odds and history, to the presidency, and also against all odds and opposition, keep him there for two terms.

In baseball and elsewhere, everybody knows what can happen with phenoms. Some shine and succeed beyond imagining. Some burn out and never make it past their first season.

Democrats would love to find and run another phenom, but are justifiably skittish about losing a precious, one-time-only opportunity to preserve American democracy. They are ambivalent about a phenom like Pete Buttigieg. He has all the right stuff—young, brilliant, accessible, charismatic, articulate, war veteran, Rhodes Scholar, speaks six languages, plays piano at a symphony level, etc. But will the American people elect a married gay man as president?

If the Democrats were confident the answer was “Yes,” we might be at the early stages of another phenomenon. If they are unsure or have already decided the answer is “no,” then we are in uncharted soul-searching territory. But in politics 2019, uncharted soul-searching territory is the name of the game.

April 2 is April Wise Day

If you didn’t notice, April Fools’ Day this year seemed subdued. I understand that, since I didn’t feel much like making light of lying for fun and making light of foolishness. Living daily with very public lying and foolishness makes joking about it too tragic to be funny.

Maybe today, the day after, can be April Wise Day. It can be a day to appreciate the precious value of even tiny bits of wisdom, the kind you hear and read, the kind that can make your life and the lives of those in your world better and bearable.

So look out for wisdom, speak it, seek it, recognize it when you stumble upon it. It’s out there, more plentiful than the foolishness that may be weighing you down.

Here’s a starter, appropriate for April Fools’ Day or any day. Happy April Wise Day.

Get into the habit of singing
a tune. It will give you
new life and fill you with joy.

Get into the habit of dancing.
It will displace depression and
dispel hardship.

Finding true joy is the hardest of
all spiritual tasks. If the only way
to make yourself happy
is by doing something silly,
do it.

Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav (1772–1810), from The Empty Chair: Finding Hope and Joy—Timeless Wisdom from a Hasidic Master, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov