Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage  H.L. MENCKEN

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We all love a circus. In the times of misery, squalor, social unrest, depravity, exploitation, inequality and discontent the rulers knew, and still know one thing: the peasants enjoy a circus. The carnival would enter the town, and everything else was forgotten. The Israeli government incorporated the truism; it is the centre pole in the core principles holding up the big top in Bibi’s never-ending carnival.

We have a wild elephant who tramples over any other form of evil cultural entertainment while trumpeting ear shattering bellowing shrieks. We have a juggler who uses plastic houses. Unfortunately, he has Tourette's syndrome. The houses fall. The top billing goes to our ringmaster, Bibi. Dressed in bright, glittering tail coat, great white top-hat into the Ring he steps. By his side a fat sequined lady. There are sequins everywhere: in her bouffant bleached hair; around her tiger -like green eyes and completely cover her long ball-gown. Her teeth flash, she imperiously clicks her thumb and fingers. A plinth of fire jumps from them. In the ring master mouth an unimaginably  enormous cigar. The fire lights the cigar. The crowd gasp, he smiles and dramatically acknowledges them with the glass of pink champagne which appeared in his other hand. In a twinkle the fat lady becomes a sleek tigress, pawing and snarling she terrifies the clowns who are vaguely to be seen in the shadows. On her back rides a young boy. The ring master pats the Israeli Mowgli on his head as he retreats into the gloom.
On come the clowns, running around the ringmaster they scamper and misbehave, theatrically to be subservient as he glowers. Apart from two— the manic chipmunk and his feeder. The chipmunk, jumping up and down swishing its tail throws acorns at the ringmaster, his blue-eyed fat thighed assistant looks alarmed. Suddenly there are no acorns left. The chipmunk, screeching and gibbering, is furious. The hushed audience hears her whisper, ‘no, you have eight, he has thirty.’ The ring master points to a mock command car, under the spotlight, it moves slowly towards them. The cowering chip monk gets in, a gunshot rings out, and the limping chipmunk runs away; the chipmunk shot himself in the leg, yet again. The audience roars: the same command car; the same shot, and they still love it.

The show must go on, and so it does. The beam dances around the arena, motes of dust dance in the beam. The crowd, hushed and expectant, wonder. The spotlight falls on the Siamese twins, joined at the lip. They look both surprised and fearful. The whip cracks, the intrepid tight walking duo shin up the rope ladder. They gingerly step onto the line, behind them a poster, ‘the two-state solution.’ The beam flashes to the other side of the abyss, ‘annexation, now.’ A few in the audience clap, the beam returns to the duo. They look doubtful and edge out. The audience is silent in awe.  They fall screaming, ‘a united Jerusalem.’ A safety net appears.
The bemused crowd are pleased to see the domesticated Cats take the stage. The cats have a long history with our ringmaster. When he oversaw reincarnating the biblical zoo, he solved one problem and discovered another. He solved the problem of ‘and the lion shall lay down with the lamb,’ very quickly. A different sheep every day solved the problem. He thought of having animals in education. The only one he found was some bizarre Schrodinger’s cats. This weird animal was either alive or dead depending on who looked. He applied the principle to the erstwhile Palestinian State and decided one day it would be part of his act if he could only find the right magician. Back then he thought of starting his act with a pale-faced clown with giant tears. The clown was an internationally known act, his fake tears flowing like Arabs going to vote, were from failure. One calamitous act in Oslo; he almost burnt the tent down. The crowd were terrified of him. He remembered the other problem. The one he could find no answer. They were on stage.

The Penguins were frolicking, jumping through hoops and dancing with the chipmunk and his assistant. Bibi pretended he liked them; however, he knew the Penguins were always agitating to make the tent larger, expanding into a neighbours’ field. The ringmaster feared the Penguins would cause the tent to collapse. They interfered in everything and understood nothing.
The two cats prowled the arena. The first wore a suit ten sizes too big, this cat looked incredibly sad. A long time ago,  this cat had been a fat, jolly clown. Long before he had discovered, he couldn’t sing. He wanted to a be a ‘Taking Head.’ He was sure he was born to be a talking head. As such he performed their hit song, ‘We are on the road to nowhere.’ He was hopelessly out of tune, fittingly, he caused mammoth traffic jams and managed an even bigger trick. Unlike Saddam Hussein, he managed to paralyse, for years, Tel-Aviv.
The other mandatory Cat was only there due to his ability to organise trips for work committees who filled part of the top. No one was sure what else he did.
The drums rolled; finale time arrived. The ringmaster waved. He told the audience he had a new attraction lined up. The fabulous ‘Trump online.’ He explained to the hushed audience how the miraculous act, the one so long-awaited could bounce up and down, defying all the known laws of gravity and political science. As he rocketed from position to position, he texted. No one was sure what the texts meant, but they must be good. The penguins believed him to be the ultimate provider of fish.
The drums rolled again, and the ringmaster pulled off his last act. The loose human-cannon ball. The results were catastrophic, but the crowd loved him.  Who else could be their ring master?

Israel is not a circus. We should not be a circus. We all know where the pitched tent lays. We need to run our state. What does that mean? Running the country is not to say giving circuses. It means giving services. It involves representing people. It means pointing in the right direction. The one we intend to go.  Loose cannons cannot point.
Running a town, running a city and running a state mean the same thing very much. You run them all on hard tacks planning and execution. When you're dreaming of a revolution, you can dream dreams of circuses and carnivals. These dreams are over. The reality is here; we have a state. We demand running our country as a state which cares for its citizens. The citizens are not here to serve dreams.  We are no longer in the galut and dreaming. Running a country is not abstract goals. Messianic fervour cannot replace realistic planning and execution. We must stop dreaming about what we will do if —. The procession leading us home is over; the carnival is over. We have arrived. The time has come to give services to represent the people; to know what they want and what they need.
We are not making history.
We should be teaching history.
We are doing neither.

 



 

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