Now that the dust has sunk on the political parties’ attempts to win our hearts and the game is over (at least this part of it), it is the right time to engage in some “Heshbon Nefesh” (self examination).

This election campaign was one of the most dividing, ruthless, emotional and painful this country has ever seen. As in every campaign, politicians have turned the country into a wrestling ring where they bit up each other for the hope of a knockout. But what was really disconcerting was the public debate between us “commoners” as we logged into facebook, commented on articles, and talked with our friends and family.

No matter with which party one sided with, the sense everwhere was that it is a critical time for this country. a decisive moment, no less. Everywhere you looked people were recruited for the salvation of the government from evil claws trying to take over it. “It is us or them”, the posters screamed, “it is us or he”, others replied.

And the people in the streets and in the virtual space repeated this mantra without even stopping to think,

who is “them”?

who is “he”?

A distant foe that we can paint in grim colors and hate or my roommate, my boss, my children’s kindergarten teacher, my friend?

Left, right. Left, right, left. As we marched, left or right, we forgot why are we marching and where do we want to end up. Where was the sane public figure to say out loud what we all needed to hear- That the day after the election we are still living together- we are still working together, go shopping together, earn our education together, breath the same air, together. All of us. And the minute we forget that and see each other as enemies there is little room for progress. For growth. For the future.

“There and back again”, was one hobbit’s Journey. We in Israel all went there, too far, almost out of reach. we were so there, and now we need to return home. Now we need to remember what our shire is really all about.