Yoo-hoo! Can you hear me?

Tired of spokemen’s statements, the public is waiting to hear from our leaders.

By YAEL WISSNER-LEVY
August 15, 2011 21:57
2 minute read.
Tent City press conference

Tent City press conference 311. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

 
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Perhaps it’s the almost unbearable heat and humidity of Tel Aviv, the dog days of August, or the fact that there’s a social revolution unraveling throughout the country.

The fact of the matter remains, our leaders are not talking.

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Or maybe I can’t hear them? The housing-cum-social justice protest washing over Israel has proven that it is here to stay, at least for now. Plans to go forward with a million- man march are drowning out the chirps by the government to initiate negotiations, and more recently the formation of an excessively large panel to meet with protest leaders, has conveniently excused Prime Minister Netanyahu from full-on addressing the issue.

Constituents aren’t seeking convoluted political rhetoric, but rather a “let’s get to the point” oratory. Have our leaders forgotten the power of the word, otherwise known as humanity’s strongest weapon? Although it has been around for ages, in our fast-paced, shifting world, it’s still the medium that works.

Any “New Deal” is not going to come from advisers, public relations agencies, or spokesperson-based media reports. Today, more than ever, people demand what Cicero made timeless – a good speech. They’re waiting for the person they put in office to deliver a dialogue to change the status quo, and instigate a new era.

The power of the word is not waning only in Israel; its deterioration is evident on the front steps of the White House. It’s the cut-to-the-chase, passionate rhetoric that got President Barack Obama elected. His ability to talk to the public – whether through YouTube channels or your old-fashioned speech – is what made young people listen, and then go out and vote.

Precisely this fading lack of passion, and abandonment of the bold, inspirational speech, has made the American public weary of their future.

Nevertheless, as Thomas Jefferson noted, “speeches that are measured by the hour will die with the hour.” Israel’s technologically savvy, so-called “spoiled” public is not looking for some mumbo jumbo, but for answers, directly from their leaders. They want to hear frank yet passionate statements from the guys and gals in charge. There is no place for spokespeople and statements in times of protests, in times where democracy is pushed to the spotlight.

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Cicero’s three components of a good speech – technique, substance and passion – are nowhere to be seen. This is not to say that our leaders must deliver every speech in the public square as the Roman philosopher did; it is to say, put your spokespeople aside. We’ll make do with YouTube and Twitter, for now, as long as we hear your words, your promises, your intentions for change and reform.

This public may be demanding a new social order in an already new world; start by using the old-fashioned, non-lethal weapon that works – the word.

Yoo-hoo, leaders, we’re listening.

The writer is a speech writer and former correspondent for Channel 10 News.

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