Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let the Games Begin

Now that the war, or at least this particular round of it, is over and Obama is finally in office, we Israelis can finally get down to the business of our own "peaceful transfer of power". In three weeks, millions of Israelis will head to the polls to decide which of our approximately five zillion political parties will lead us into the future. We will make this decision based on little more than campaign jingles, campaign commercials and campaign posters — often conveniently adorned with helpful verbal and pictorial commentary courtesy of an opposing party—in which each candidate tries to look Strong and Leaderlike and Trustworthy (nu, guys, we KNOW you already) and Able to Make Tough Decisions. Apart from the long-haired guy in the Meretz poster. I have no idea who that man is, but he looks like he just got done smoking an enormous reefer.

But what about the voter who takes his responsibility seriously? Could he not also try reading and listening to interviews with the various party members? He could, but seeing how most of these interviews are comprised of Politician A rambling on about how and why the members of the opposing parties are corrupt, incompetent, weak, short-sighted, self-serving and likely to lead the country into ruin, blah blah blah….Mr. Responsible Voter will be led to the inescapable conclusion that all of our parties and all of our politicians are corrupt, incompetent, weak, short-sighted, self-serving and likely to lead the country into ruin. And, hey, he already know that. So why bother?

My first few elections, I favored a series of boutique parties. You know, small parties that have wonderful ideals, and honest politicians and a breathtaking vision of how to fix Israel. The reason I favored "a series" rather than "one" boutique party is because these parties never last long and only occasionally get a seat in the Knesset. This gets tiring, getting excited about parties and then having them die on you. After seven years of this, I find myself looking at elections in a completely different light than I used to. I am not looking for honesty. I am not looking for leadership. I am not even looking for basic competence. Views I agree with would be nice, but are to an extent optional. What is key and what I am really looking for is…a snake:

From Carpetblog, February 5, 2008

First, Hillary is a snake, but she's our snake. In a fight, I'd want her watching my back. She's going to know where to stick the shiv and how hard to stick it. I like Obama. He's a very talented politician (and cute too!), but getting a pass on your Senate campaign because your opponent got caught going to S&M clubs does not qualify you to withstand the shitstorm that the Republicans will gin up. I want someone who knows how to fight dirty and win at all costs. On our side, no one can do that like a Clinton.

Of course, in the end, Hillary did not win. The Carpetblogger's logic was faulty…in respect to the US. In respect to the Israeli political arena, however, it was spot on. In Israeli politics, if you want anything to get done, anything at all, even things you do not agree with in the slightest…but just to see that something SOMETHING can actually can get done here….you need some sleazy bastard who call in favors and twist arms and threaten and wheedle and sell his own grandmother if it will help him get his way. I want a Clinton, or at least the Israeli version of the same. If Arik Sharon were not in a coma, he would totally be my man. Alas, he is and I must ask the question: Who is Arik Sharon's reptilian heir?

Nu, it is Bibi. Of course it is Bibi. No one screams "snake" as much as Bibi.

But then, if I want Bibi, I have to vote Likud. And not some cute, idealistic boutique party. I would actually have to vote Likud.

Damn. This is harder than I thought.


Tzipporah said...

LOL - when you started talking about "boutique parties" I thought you were talking about GOING to little parties where candidates would meet citizens and discuss their ideas over cocktails.

Clearly I'm an American. :)

Anonymous said...

*grin* The curse of democracy.

Across the sea and over the mountains, the next elections will confront me with similar problems (though on less existential ones). The leaders of the greenies, who used to get half of my votes, have just spread blood libels, while the key representatives of the lefties, who used to get the other half of my votes, have been caught supporting an openly fascist government. Of those parties who are not known yet for either the former or the latter or both, one cannot separate between religion and politics, the other one is racist and the third one basically says that social security should be for crashing bankers only. So for me, it is either to abstain, to found a boutique party or to emigrate again.


Anonymous said...

I'd rather have a boa constructor like Madeleine Albright.