In the sentimental commercials for Jared, the so-called “Galleria of Jewelry,” the prospective hubby knows where to go for the ring that will get bride-zilla to say “yes.”
“He went to Jared’s,” her voiceover says, quivering with emotion. “He went to Jared’s.”
I doubt Jared Kushner went to Jared’s for Ivanka’s engagement ring, and therein may lie the problem. “The rich are different from you and me,” said F. Scott Fitzgerald, who knew a thing or two about them. “Yes,” Ernest Hemingway replied, “they have more money.”
And because they have more money they know what Alexander Hamilton meant when he said, “Power without revenue is a mere bauble.” Money may not be able to buy happiness – which is mainly an existential question – but it can buy almost anything else and it can make misery very comfortable. It is not the root of all evil, as people often say, misquoting the Bible, but rather it’s single-minded pursuit can blind us to the needs of others and its attainment in astonishing quantities can inure us to their pain.
Jared – the senior White House adviser, not the jeweler – has by all accounts led a charmed life. His family’s money gave him access to an Ivy League education his grades might not have otherwise earned and enabled them to purchase the vehicles – real estate, a newspaper – by which he could control others and settle old scores.
Money put Jared in the circle of Ivanka, another young American aristo, and, thus, her father.
Donald J. Trump is an anomaly. (I know, understatement of 10 lifetimes.) Many fathers who dote on their daughters resent their sons-in-law, as if they were rivals. But The Donald has taken the opposite approach, perhaps as a way of binding Ivanka closer to him, perhaps out of a sense of Jared as an extension of Ivanka, the favorite child, the yang to her yin.
And there are sons-in-law, too, who see the wife’s papa not as a rival but as an entrée to the family business. Who knows? There may be genuine affection, respect, even love here. Whatever it is, it has brought Jared to the almost-pinnacle of power and the almost-pinnacle of trouble. He is a person of interest in Russkie-gate for seeking to establish back-channels of communication with a foreign power that for most of American history has been at best an uneasy ally and at worst an enemy seeking to destabilize our country. Think about it. He is alleged to have sought back-channels of communication, prior to Trump’s inauguration, for the purpose of discussing the crisis in Syria. Yeah. Right.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Jared is an idealistic young man with world peace in his heart. What he did was incredibly naïve. And you have to ask yourself: Would you want a naïve neurosurgeon? How about a naïve defense attorney? In other words: What are Jared Kushner’s qualifications for being a senior adviser – law and MBA degrees notwithstanding – other than his being the son-in-law, and, many had wished, babysitter, of the president of the United States?
There are those who say naiveté would be the best we can hope for in this situation. They see something else afoot – a hubris borne of privilege without awareness.
They see a young man who wanted to establish back-channels as a way of conducting business between the Trump Administration – that is, The Trump Organization – and a foreign government that does not wish us Americans well.
They see a young man who did not understand – or did not care – that money cannot buy everything and everyone, certainly not the system of checks and balances that is the backbone of our democratic republic.
They see a young man who may yet rue the day that the Trump Administration “went to Jared.”