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Opinions

Trump’s Opening to our Community

Here in America, we live in an age of political divide – where one side does not recognize anything positive in the other. Whatever President Donald Trump does, Democrats consider it wrong and – even worse – suspicious. And whatever the Democrats do, the President calls it a hoax or a deception and says that those behind the move are motivated solely by personal hatred for him.

However, are things always black and white in life? Is there absolute evil and absolute good? Rarely, if ever.

If we can understand this, we will be helping ourselves and society as a whole.

This is my way of introducing the news about President Trump’s telephone conversation with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Sunday, on the day Orthodox Christians celebrate the Resurrection, to wish him well, and through him, to wish all Orthodox Christians a Happy Easter.

No matter how you weigh it, this is an important gesture on the part of the president, and it also sends a message to many recipients: to us Orthodox, mainly in America, but also in the whole world, to Ankara, and to the Kremlin.

It shows interest in and respect for our religion, our religious leaders, and of course, in ourselves.

It sends a message to Ankara and the Kremlin that America respects and upholds the integrity and the right to freedom of action of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

And, of course, it sends a message to other Orthodox authorities around the world, about the relative political weight of each of them compared to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

But Trump’s opponents will tell me that the president had personal political reasons for calling the patriarch.

Of course it also served his political interests. He is a politician and in a few months – on November 3 – we will have elections that pose difficulties for Trump.

In addition, we as a Community have a reputation for supporting Democrats and their presidential candidate, Joe Biden, who is a well-tested friend of our Community (interestingly, Biden’s people did not think to suggest that he should also call the Patriarch, whom he knows well).

Regardless of the political element, the fact remains that Trump’s move shows his appreciation for the Community and its potential importance on Election Day, and that he can make a strong claim for our votes.

How each of us will vote when the time comes is up to us. However, as a Community, we cannot do otherwise than to recognize as a positive the President’s appreciation of the Patriarch and the approach he is taking to our Hellenic Diaspora.

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