When is Enough Enough?
Dayenu is a Hebrew word that can be roughly translated as it would have been enough. It also is the title of a song sung during the Passover Seder that shows appreciation for the many gifts the Jewish people have received from God throughout their existence, beginning with being taken out of slavery in Egypt. The essence of the song is that any one of the gifts would have been enough, but that Jews are eternally grateful for all of them.
While an important part of the Jewish religion, the concept of one example being sufficient in face of many has universal appeal and not just in a religious setting. And this year, unfortunately, it can be appropriately applied to the presidential election. Dayenu, in this case meaning it should have been enough, provides a useful way to contemplate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. It is like a Dayenu that is sung in an ‘opposite world,’ in which what one is commenting on misfortunes instead of miracles; on actions taken or statements made by Mr. Trump which, in a normal world, would have instantaneously and permanently disqualified him as a potential President of these United States. The problem is that it was never enough for die hard Trump supporters. Nothing he did or said interfered with their allegiance.
For example, if Donald Trump had just said:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best, they’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
Dayenu: It should have been enough. But it wasn’t.
Or if he had just said:
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”
“Just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know. I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”
Dayenu: It should have been enough, but it wasn’t.
Or if he had just mocked a disabled reporter or that John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was captured and Trump likes “people who weren’t captured.” Or if he had just attacked Judge Gonzalo Curiel, or the Kahns and Alicia Machado. Or if he had just lost nearly 1 billion dollars in a single year and potentially paid no federal taxes for the next 18 years, while simultaneously saying things like:
“I don’t mind sacrificing for the country to be honest with you. But you know, you do have a problem because half of the people don’t pay any tax. And when he’s talking about that he’s talking about people that aren’t also working, that are not contributing to this society. And it’s a problem. But we have 50 percent. It just hit the 50 percent mark. Fifty percent of the people are paying no tax.”
Dayenu!, dayenu!, dayenu! for crying out loud. Any of these should have been enough. All of them certainly should have been enough. But it wasn’t and they weren’t, as evidenced by the hard-to-fathom level of support Trump continued to enjoy. This, in turn, caused many of us to ask what should have been a simple question: What would be enough?
And now we may have, at least, a partial answer — get caught on tape saying vile and disgusting things (in your own voice). Follow this by a non-apology, then release an insincere apology that you read from a teleprompter and use the occasion to attack your opponent and her husband. It appears as though all of that was enough, for some anyway. But for many other, apparently, it was not. According to a Politico POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted after the Republican nominee’s lewd comments went public, 10 percent of Republicans said the video gave them a positive feeling.
So that leaves a more complicated question. Is there anything Donald Trump could say or do to help his remaining supporters to see him for what he really is or, at least, to stop supporting him? Or I am I just hoping for another miracle?