Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Elections, Inaugurations and More

Yesterday was, of course, the 2nd Inauguration of Barack Obama -- and coincidentally Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

I had an awkward exchange with a friend, who posted on Facebook:
After his divisive first term, let us all hope our President's second term will be better. If not? Well then, take comfort in knowing, as Margaret Thatcher said, "with socialism, eventually you run out of other people's money."

My daughter has counseled me "not to get into it" on Facebook.  But did I listen?  No.  So I responded to him.  As you might have expected.  I indicated that I didn't feel that the President deserved the blame for a "divisive first term."  The Republicans basically worked MUCH harder at getting in his way than doing ANYTHING for the country.  And. . . socialism?  That was a bit much, don't you agree?

I was a little more polite than I might have been. . . but was still openly critical.

I was surprised to see today that, although we had a reasonably cordial private e-conversation, he had removed my response to his posting -- and only those who agreed with him remained.

It made me wonder if I've been erased before.  

I'm USUALLY a big supporter of civility -- calling on us all to listen to each other a little better.  With that in mind, I want to remind those on "my side of the aisle" to consider being a little more charitable and especially a little more reasonable and optimistic about those on the other side of the aisle.

Anyway. . . much more interestingly. . . . 

Funny thing about the Israeli elections.  I've been feeling like the center-left -- the side of the aisle I lean to, both in Israel and the U.S. -- had ceased to exist.  The country has been run for so long by Netanyahu and the righties.  But it appears that left and right are split by one way of counting, 62 to 58 (right to left); by another, 62 to 50 (if you don't include the Arab parties with the Israeli "Center-Left"); by another, 45 to 50 (Right to center-left, if you don't include the Ultra-Orthodox either).

What does this mean?  It will take a while to sort it out.  But suffice it to say that it doesn't make sense to call those of us who are vocal supporters of the 2-state solution out of step with the Israeli public (or, God forbid, anti-Israel, non-Zionist, etc.)

The big winner?  Yair Lapid, whose new Yesh Atid (There Is A Future) party gained a stunning 19 seats.  Quite remarkable when you consider that the talk of the political world for the last month had been right-winger Naftali Bennett and his Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish House) party -- and they pulled only 12 seats.  Don't get me wrong: 12 seats is a LOT -- especially when you consider that Israel's once very powerful Labor Party is down to 17 seats.  And of course remember that Netanyahu's Likud party also pulled down 31 seats.

The number of seats doesn't always mean very much.  The way that parties coalesce to perform a government, the horse-trading of cabinet positions, etc. means more.

But tonight, I feel like the two-state solution is alive and kicking.  At least a little.

In the meantime, there have been signs of hope in the USA that Republicans and Democrats might be starting to work together on the stuff that needs to get done.  May it happen here.  And may it happen there, with whatever parties form the new government!

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