The language of our diverse population in this primarily English-speaking nation is sprinkled with foreign words. These terms are commonly used in conversation, and often found in news articles, spoken on TV, radio, etc.
When I have used the term “chutzpah” in general conversation, I’ve used it as a somewhat derogatory reference because I define it as “overconfidence” or “selfish assertiveness.” However, I checked Google’s definition, and it does not assign a negative or positive value to “chutzpah.” It uses the word “audacious” as a synonym.
In searching for a more exact usage of the word, I realize that, in my mind, there is a personification of “chutzpah” in the person of Donald Trump. How could anyone be more audacious than a man who has been twice impeached, saved from being ousted from the presidency only by the Senate Republicans? Trump instigated a coup, which I consider a treasonous rampage, in an attempt to disrupt Biden’s confirmation to take his place as president. Trump has consistently lied and caused distress on many levels, including the terror wreaked by his COVID-19 “non-policy.” He has paid millions of dollars to attorneys and in court settlement fines as a result of his corrupt and fraudulent business practices. Even before he was president, Trump was convicted of racist refusals to rent his New York properties to non-whites.
Trump is presently being investigated for a multitude of crimes. In my opinion, anyone of such low character should not have been president once, let alone run for another term. Trump’s announcement of his 2024 candidacy is my definition of “chutzpah!”
Yet political pundits claim Trump still has the support of 30% of the voting population. It is frightening for me to even contemplate his possible nomination. I believe it is our responsibility to carefully choose qualified candidates for major and minor offices, be they Republican, Democratic, or Independent. They must be people who are trustworthy, intelligent, knowledgeable of public affairs, and earn our respect.
We must not choose people who attempt to blindside us with their chutzpah.
Harriet Hausman is a longtime resident of River Forest and most likely the oldest regular newspaper columnist in the country.