Saturday, January 5, 2013

Make Your Vote Count

I personally can't imagine not voting in the elections where I live.  I've never even considered a situation when I had thought that it wouldn't matter.  Consider that I'm a terrible cynic and I expect politicians to be lying to me, but I still insist on voting.

As Ruthie Blum recently wrote in Israel Hayom:
Indeed, abstaining is not an option, and it shouldn’t be for anyone who has the privilege to cast a ballot. This right must never be taken for granted, especially in the Middle East, where we are the only population that does not have to fear being beaten or killed as a result of our choices. Nor need we lose a moment’s sleep about our physical well-being prior to, during, or after the forming of the next government. The worst that can happen on Jan. 22 is that some of us will be disappointed after the votes are counted.

Today at a weekly class I take, a different speaker each time, the question/subject was:
"What is/makes a leader?"

And of course, especially considering the upcoming elections here in Israel, we ended up talking politics.  And of course, I ended up surprising my friends by telling them that their perceptions of which candidates and parties are reliable are wrong.

I see things very clearly, but differently from most.  I'll never forget haring Binyamin Netanyahu clearly state that he considers himself Centrist and would run as Centrist, because he thinks that is what a Prime Minister should be.  And the NRP aka Jewish Home Party has made it very clear that it is following its original policy to do whatever is needed to be in the coalition.  So, when I add those two things together I see that the NRP, even under Naftali Bennett will compromise its principles to be in the cabinet.

And that means that although most voters who vote for Likud and NRP are Right and expect those parties to make a Right government, we'll get Center-Left policies.

If you really want to influence the government to go Right, for Jewish Rights in the entire Land of Israel, you must vote for a party that isn't running for Volvo's, aka cabinet portfolios. 

That's why I plan on voting Otzma LeYisrael.

I'm more afraid of Bibi in power than Bibi in the opposition, not that any of the Left leaders have a chance to put together a government.

There's no guarantee  that comes with voting a certain party, but we must make the best effort we can. And G-d willing it will be good!


Shy Guy said...

That's why I plan on voting Otzma LeYisrael.

I'm sure it's so simple for you to explain logically and mathematically how a vote for OL or BY will count for anything practical.

In fact, you won't even cause any savings in less Volvo purchases.

So please explain what you think you will accomplish by voting for the most well meaning sincere people who will sit in opposition being able to accomplish absolutely nothing against those very same rotten to the core politicians you are rallying against.

Batya said...

Shy, there's no muzzle on the opposition, but Bibi demands discipline from his coalition.

Shy Guy said...

That's right. If you're in opposition, you can bark all you want. There's no bite. So what practical good is there in voting for Otzmah, as well meaning as Medad and Marzel always are?

As for coalition, you must mean Bayit Yehudi, should they be selected to join. Indeed I fully agree with you. By definition, becoming a coalition member means bending, compromising. So you're obviously against that. Me, too.

So what's left? Do I need to spell it out?

Hadassa said...

I'd rather vote for a party that's going to say the right things and possibly not do much, but not do anything wrong, than vote for a party that's definitely going to do the wrong things, no matter how many nice things its MK's say.

Shy Guy said...

Hadassa, but what if you could stop, slow down or lessen the immense harm that a wrong-doing party might or will achieve?

Are you still willing to say that principle in the face of expulsions, capitulation to the enemy, retreat, further endangerment to the country conquers pragmatism and an attempt at counter-action?

By the way, I don't know what nice things you are hearing Likud MKs say. In any case, this has never been relevant nor is it part of anyone's argument so far.

Anonymous said...

Shy Guy,
why don't you apply your thoughts all the way, ad hasof ?
If a party chairman in coalition has to bend, what to think about a few MKs ?
They have even less poewer, they have to obey to their party chairman even more.

I remember MK Otniel Schenneller, after refusing to vote according to Livni's order, he was punished and wasn't able to present any new proposal for 6 months...

Batya said...

Shy, no bite when you're muzzled. Don't be naive.

Hadassa said...

I'm referring to the nice things that Bayit Yehudi says. They'll play along with the Likud, no matter what they - or the Likud - says.

Shy Guy said...

(PART 1 of 2)

Hi Anonymous (get a name, even a fake one). I assume both you and I have much NOT in common with the opinions of MK Schneller - but since you brought his name up, let's take him as an abstract example.

Since I loathe Kadima, I have not followed Schneller's record for consistency or the lack thereof. However, if Schneller is a man of integrity, the place where he could have had the greatest influence on other Kadima members to have rebelled against Livni on principle was within Kadima itself.

Now I don't know if Schneller fell back in line after the incident you mention. The point is that he could not be forced to. If he's a man of his word, he had more access and therefore more influence on his fellow party members than someone on the outside, for whatever that may have been worth in Kadima at the time.

The Likud (I'm referring to the party, its members and the majority of its Central Committee - I'm excluding Netanyahu and his cronies) is not Kadima. It has its own very pro Israel platform, which is disdained by Netanyahu but not at all by the party's members or most of the Central Committee who are NOT in BB's pocket, just like they weren't in Sharon's.

In addition to the party infrastructure, a large proportion of Likud MKs themselves, while afraid of Netanyahu to one extent or another, don't agree with him, say so out loud, actively influence their fellow MKs and make life for BB that much more difficult. Outside of cabinet members, they have not always fallen in line with what BB wants, come the consequences that may.

The Likud as a party is therefore not anything near the equivalent of Kadima as a party. You can make lots of justified equations between Netanyahu and Livni but you cannot equate the reason d'etre of the parties to each other. The parties are diametrically opposed in their foundations.

I saw the following analogy on a talkback elsewhere:

In the movie, "The Wizard of Oz", the Wicked Witch’s soldiers were in lockstep with the witch’s every command throughout the story - UNTIL Dorothy melted the witch. Then, the soldier's threat to help "eliminate" Dorothy turned into a united chant of “hail to Dorothy – the Wicked Witch is dead!”

The witch did a lot of harm before she was “liquidated”. And how was that accomplished. There was only one way. Dorothy could only do the job from within the witch’s castle, up close, from the inside.

Shy Guy said...

(PART 2 of 2)

The Metzudah is the castle. Netanyahu is the witch. The soldiers are the Likud MKs who fall in line with Netanyahu (the analogy is bad because there are many Likud MKs who refuse to do just that).

And who is the "Wizard". Take your choice: Bennet or Eldad - in the sense that all they can do is to produce lots of thunder and lightning and repeatedly make very loud threats and promises, which they can never achieve from pulling sound and light show levers from a little booth behind a curtain.

And who is "Dorothy"? Please forgive me, Moshe Feiglin, but it's him. As corny as it sounds, he wants all to be able to go back to Kansas safely. "There's no place like home!". And Toto, too! Had Dorothy stood outside the Wicked Witch's castle, along with the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, holding up placards and shouting at the top of their lungs saying "give me the broom", do you think they would have accomplished anything?

The sick political situation in Israel is not much different. The fact is that a eunuch has more power, strength and influence than a right wing party in opposition. As far a right wing party in a coalition with Netanyahu, they are forced to undergo political castration to become the very same eunuchs. The only ones who have the potential to be of any influence in the Likud, from minimal to decisive, and who can actually help sway votes within the party one way or the other, are the loyal nationalist MKs in the Likud. There are quote a number of them. There are also quite a number of fence sitting MKs in the Likud. Combined, they are the most formidable and practical opposition against any of Netanyahu's evil machinations.

And you folks want to weaken this potential power for what is already known to be absolutely powerless, as the right opposition has been all these past years - your previous wizard, Ketzeleh, included?!

Suit yourselves.

Shy Guy said...

Batya, other than cabinet members, who is forced to wear a muzzle within the Likud? Please elaborate.

Shy Guy said...

Hadassa, with regard to BY, we are in full agreement.

Amihai said...

Shy Guy,
I was the anonymous (I did write my name, don't know what happenned).

Yes, as surprisingly as it turned out, Schenneller is a man of integrity. All he ever said about his choice to be on kadima's list was that was a place where he could influence.

And no, he didn't retracted after voting against Livni's will.
On a single matter he was able to express his own will.
But then, for 6 months he couldn't do ANYTHING.

Netanyahou can do this too. Like Sharon did.

And what happenned last time likud members tried to oppose the destruction of Givat Haulpena, Beit Ezra and so on ?
Netanyahu and Barak took decisions - and no one was able to do anything. There was no one in the coalition willing to prevent this (especially not the Beit Yehudi of Orlev and Hershkovitz), the likud MKs were blocked by bibi, and the Ihud Leumi could cry without any effect.
A major party in the coalition will be much more effective than anything else against Netanyahu - and it will even reinforce Likud MKs.
And you know what ? Bennett has everything to gain in opposing Netanyahu from inside a coalition.

Now, you take the assumption that the Likud is the one who will gouvern for a long while. If bibi were to stay as PM tens of years, you would be right. But that's not the case.
Already the Likud is much weaker than 3 years ago and no one can tell what will happen in another 4 yours.
Right now Beit Yehudi is trying to get known so maybe in the next elections it can try to be the leading party.

Amihai said...

Shy Guy,
in short :

-For day to day matters, a party in the coalition has much more power against a PM than his own MKs (if only because they can destroy the coalition while MKs can do nothing like this, except maybe leaving the likud).

-Over the long term, if Likud was to be in power for decades, taking control from within would be the only way. But since the Likud can and will probably fall in the next few years, trying to get the PM seat can as well be done from outside.
Only 6 years ago the Likud was far behing Kadima, Avoda and Shass...

Amihai said...

I personnally know Orit Struk and Hillel Horwitz (the 2 are from Hevron).
They are at least as good as Ben-Ari when it come to so the right things, but they even have shown that they know how to do...

Batya said...

Shy, Dorothy didn't know what she was doing when she poured the water. It was siyate d'shmaya if you take the story seriously. Both wicked witches were killed by a "higer power."
Amihai, Struck and Horowitz have a lot to learn. Being an MK is a real profession, like the minister learned in "Yes, Minister."
This new Knesset will probably have a very high percentage of first-time MK's which means a real balagan.

Hadassa said...

I know Rab Hillel personally too, not as well as Amihai does, but well enough.
Shy Guy, I don't understand. If BY is no good and neither is Oztma, are you saying that the best choice is Likud?