The other day, I asked Israeli politicians via my blog on The Times of Israel, if any of them wanted my vote.
Apparently, Dov Lipman does. In fact, he’s really the only one who answered the call. It could have something to do with the fact that my “call” was in English, Dov’s mother tongue (he’s also an immigrant from the U.S.). It also could do with the fact that he too is a Times of Israel blogger, and perhaps the only political candidate who actually read my post.
Understanding this, I sent the link personally to English-proficient Bibi and American-born, greenie like me Alon Tal via social media outlets to try to get their attention. Neither responded. Not even their twitter-bots.
I did get a Facebook shout out from the English campaign manager of HaBayit HaYehudi asking me to call him, and an offer from one of their volunteers to come to my kibbutz and speak about the elections.
But Dov was the only one who hunted me down on Facebook (not hard to do) and engaged me in a one-on-one Q & A about his agenda — and mine — and that of Yesh Atid, the party ticket he’s running on.
This is one of those moments where we say:
Only in Israel.
(Or in Newark, where one particular politician makes voters feel like they matter.)
I liked what Dov had to say (type) to me — but, moreso, how he said it.
He was nice.
He asked me for my questions.
And answered them. To the best of his ability.
And was honest when he didn’t have the answer.
He asked me what mattered to me.
He made me feel as if I matter.
A politician in the making, but not politician enough to sound inauthentic.
Which is a good thing in my book.
And while important issues to me are sorely missing from Yesh Atid’s platform –environment and health, in particular– I don’t think any one party in Israel is addressing the issues that matter to me. (Which is stupid, since religion and government will mean nothing to nobody if this land is either flooded over or otherwise uninhabitable due to the effects of climate change; or if we’re all dying of various of forms of cancer thanks to air, water, and land pollution.)
So I have a few choices in this election:
1. Choose not to vote
2. Choose the party and politician most of my close friends are choosing (In my case, HaTnuah, Labor or Meretz– which is probably why HaBayit HaYehudi didn’t waste even a 5-minute call on me)
3. Choose the guy/party who makes me feel like I matter
Choosing 1 is completely reasonable for a new immigrant. I mean, to be honest, I’m surprised they let me vote at all. I can barely make it through the grocery store on my own.
Choosing 2 would put me among the majority of the people in this country. Most people, especially immigrants, vote half-heartedly or with little research. Most of my friends told me they are still undecided or are choosing a party based on who they don’t want to win or based on who their father/husband/sister wants to win.
Is it so wrong, stupid, or immature then to choose option 3? To choose to vote for the one person on the ballot who made me feel like my vote matters?
Obviously, there is something in Yesh Atid’s platform that speaks to me – education improvements, for one. Focus on helping small businesses succeed and giving opportunities to the middle class to afford homes.
And then there’s the fact that Yair Lapid, the party leader, actually thinks Israels should be nicer to each other.
Niceness goes a long way.
Obviously, Dov Lipman could be telling me exactly what I want to hear to get my vote. That’s what a few of my friends said when I told them I was considering giving Yesh Atid my vote after my correspondence with Dov, followed by a careful reading of their English web site and Facebook pages, and speaking to one of their hard-core supporters..
But isn’t that’s what all politicians do any way — on a grander scale? Tell us what we want to hear to motivate us to vote for them?
Really, when it comes down to it — after all the newspaper articles, the televised debates, the advertising: none of which I was audience to, in all honesty, because they were either in Hebrew or took place far away — how educated can we really truly be before an election?
How rational can we really truly be? Most of our decisions, any decisions, are biased anyway.
So is it so stupid, so wrong, such a waste for me to vote for the guy, the party who made me feel like I matter?