(photo credit: AP)
She wasn't at all aware of Proverbs 36:11 and had no idea how Bing Crosby's 1944 Academy Award-winning song "Swinging on a Star" remotely pertained to her pseudo-intellectual angst. The complexities of life were overwhelming enough without additional bewilderment.
We'll call her Agam. She's the closest among my daughter's slew of close friends - all sporting trendy unisex names, all self-proclaimed secular progressives with uber-active social consciences and demonstratively disaffected demeanors. The world just so totally fails to live up to their expectations and they're so righteously indignant about it.
Flaunting adolescent scorn, Agam cast her ballot for the Gil Pensioners list when voting for the first time in 2006. That was the then-fad. She thought it a lark. My daughter's rebuke and the Lebanese fiasco later that year appeared to have produced some remorse. Agam promised not to be profligate with her democratic privilege this time around. Exuding public-spiritedness, she even got herself a job on a polling station oversight committee. She seemed a reformed character until she sighed plaintively in our kitchen the other day: "I don't know who to vote for. They're all the same. Nobody's worthy."
This provoked my own offspring into another chiding outburst. Agam defended herself: "I still have months to decide." The prospective polling station official didn't even know that polling day was just about a week away.
So much for how well-informed some citizens are. Therefore, for voters like Agam, who feel that no alternative out there is good enough, here's a thumbnail guide to the electorally perplexed. If you can't find the ultimate dream candidate, at least attempt a process of elimination. Make sure to support the adversaries of the following three candidate-categories:
1. Suck-ups to foreign potentates.
It's in your power to stop obsequiousness. It's time Israelis elect leaders who aren't embarrassed to tell the truth and put this country's existential interests ahead of making nice. It doesn't matter how much we curry favor with European heads of government. They all love us just about as much as Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who revealed his true colors unforgettably in recent hectoring harangues. Among assorted chilling proposals, he urged that Israel be chucked out of the UN. Most Europeans boast better decorum, but not more benevolence toward the Jewish state.
American honchos hardly have our best interests in mind either. Saccharine praise for George Bush wasn't only distasteful. It's downright harmful. "Bosom ally" Dubya was the first to impose the potentially ruinous "vision" of a Palestinian state on Israel. If this is what the warmest "pro-Israel" support produced, just imagine the "evenhanded course-correction" of Barack Hussein Obama, less well-disposed toward us and intent on "reaching out" to the Muslim world. If Israeli higher-ups applaud Obama's unproven goodwill before he earns our praise, they give him carte blanche to do as he pleases to our detriment. The last thing we ought to do is elect flatterers - like Tzipi Livni or Ehud Barak - who cloyingly invite pressure, instead of waiting and reserving judgment with a modicum of dignity.
2. Promoters of territorial surrender.
It's time to own up that defining our conflict as territorial is a dangerous canard. Perhaps born of naivete and wishful thinking, it's in effect cynically exploited to weaken Israel. Territory serves only as a pan-Arab pretext to persist in the war against Jewish presence in the Jewish homeland. This bloody war preceded Jewish sovereignty by decades, and indeed delayed it. Its aim was and remains to throw every Jew into the sea. Only tactics and alliances change, not objectives. The Arabs always sided with the most extreme anti-Jewish/Zionist element of their day - from Nazis and Soviets to Islamofascists. Arab moderation, as Yasser Arafat admitted in his Johannesburg speech hot on the heels of his Oslo stratagem, is a treacherous facade. Hence the noxious Jew-hatred inculcated into the youngest Arab preschoolers, the virulent incitement in Arab media and the exhortation to mass murder in the mosques.
"Occupation" is a code word for the Jewish state. An "end to occupation" denotes the destruction of the Jewish state. Territorial compromise doesn't satisfy Arab appetites. Livni, Barak and like-minded local doves strive hard to convince their electorate that Arab moderates - whose moderation is anyway in the eye of the beholder - would terminate the conflict in return for reasonable territorial concessions. This never was a tenable option and won't be any time soon. What the mighty Arafat couldn't grant the fawning Barak, the PA's will-o-the-wisp outgoing President Mahmoud Abbas cannot countenance. And as for Hamas, better not waste our breath.
Bottom line: Avoid candidates who advocate further withdrawals, especially from Judea and Samaria, which straddle the country's super-vulnerable eastern flank.
3. Four-flushers who play us for fools.
Candidates like Livni and Barak enthusiastically endorsed the midnight escape from Lebanon in 2000 and/or pushed for the subsequent 2005 disengagement from Gaza. They derided warnings that withdrawals and the destruction of Jewish communities would embolden fanatics and bring a rain of rockets farther into Israel. Confoundingly, however, reality refused to cooperate with these serial fantasists/bamboozlers and their ilk. Each and every forecast about unilateralism's catastrophic consequences proved indisputably accurate.
"Peacenik" willful duplicity made the Second Lebanon War and the recent incursion into Gaza inevitable. Yet even the mildest token of contrition remains absent. There can be no greater contra-recommendation than Livni's/Barak's moral omission.
Their perfidy, though, extends beyond pro-retreat raptures. They continued to lie. They failed to react to Hizbullah/Hamas aggression for years and allowed the enemy to stockpile massive arsenals. They told us that sending ground forces into the Gaza Strip would cost innumerable casualties, that controlling launching sites wouldn't reduce rocket barrages, that if we set foot in Gaza's mire we'd be unable to extricate ourselves, and finally that a job partially done is the whole shebang, that a premature return to square one will guarantee that a Lebanese-like flop won't be replayed in Gaza.
IN A NUTSHELL, Agam, even if you lack the absolutely perfect candidate to rave about, you can at least vote for the lesser of the various evils. You might not be sure about whom to vote for, but you can be sure about whom to oppose. If you don't vote to defeat sycophants, retreat-merchants and deceivers, then you'll surely fall prey to what Proverbs 36:11 admonishes against.
"Like a dog that returns to its vomit," stresses the ancient wisdom, "is the fool who repeats his folly."
Take heed Agam. Avoid repugnant reflexes and the thoughtless replication of what you shouldn't have done in past elections. To paraphrase the lyrics of Bing's old-time hit in the timeless spirit of Proverbs: "Would you like to be better off than you are, or would you rather be a dog?"