Sarah Bechor

Absentee Ballot with an absentee opinion?

I am a very passionate person. The irony is for someone as passionate as me, I don’t have that many opinions. And certainly not in regards to politics. However, it might be from an allergic reaction. You see, I come from a very politically oriented family. When my mother changed from being a registered democrat to a republican; it was a monumental day in history. Our Shabbat table would constantly include hot political debate until one Shabbat I called a moratorium on this subject just to save my mother and grandmother from killing each other. I would sit there and eat my salad, listen to their strong beliefs, roll my eyes and ask someone to pass another piece of Challah.

When my little sister, who is ten years younger than me, turned the ripe old age of 18, she was thrilled she could finally vote. Me? Well when I turned 18, I was thrilled I could drink legally in Israel.

I never got involved, never asked, never cared….then one day, a few years ago, someone said the name “Biden” in a sentence and I asked- who is that? When I heard the answer, very embarrassed, I knew something had to change. But all that really changed was that I now make an effort in knowing who the current vice- president of America is.

In 2006, the year before I made Aliyah, I was finishing my BA in NYC and I decided I should probably know something about politics before making Aliyah, so I took an Israeli-Politics course in my last semester. Dear Dr. David Luchins-you gave me a D in that course! So perhaps that proved -it’s not a specific country’s politics that I don’t get along with, it’s politics itself.

For example, I simply couldn’t decide if I liked Hillary a few months back. I’m told I shouldn’t. My Facebook feed hates her. So fine, I won’t like her either. However should I form my own opinion about her and spend time learning about her beliefs on world peace? Should I base it on her shade of hair color or the fact that she once shook hands with Arafat? The truth is, before I even have the opportunity to decide, it’s decided for me. I am sublimely told: DO not like her. Hence, I don’t.

Trump- Oh dear Trump. Last time you were on TV you were on a silly reality TV show telling people they are fired and now you’re discussing the Middle East with show hosts. How am I supposed to take you seriously? Your funny faces all over the media, your “Jewish” daughter, I wonder will you put a “Trump” building sign on the White House?

The topics once discussed was gun control and birth control and anything about control-but today it’s about e-mail scandals and revealing to the public five years of one’s tax returns–”And I dare you to do the same!”. Why should I have an opinion on your tax returns and e-mails?

A while back, when I started watching the TV series “The Good Wife” and watched Alicia Florrick stand by her husband Peter, a politician, who had a sex scandal (gee-that’s original!) I thought to myself…Wow, what an idiot! So I should think that of Hillary too?–because clearly real life and TV shows are identical-right? Then by season three of the show I thought “Wow–that’s a woman I respect–she stood by her husband for her kids sake”… and then I thought “Hillary, you have my respect for Chelsea’s sake”. Please notice how none of this has to do with politics but has everything to do with who might be the next president of United States.

I understand why American citizens who live in Israel should vote. “Every vote counts!” “You make a difference” “It affects Israel!” “Stand up for your nation” “You should care” “People (women) fought for these rights-use them properly” “You owe it to American Jewry”…

I know, I know. Calm down everyone.

But here’s the thing. I do hate not knowing who to vote for. I also don’t want to put the effort to find out–politics gives me a headache and I ran out of American branded Tylenol. I also don’t want to spend the hours upon hours it would take me to have an opinion because I would have to start from scratch. From Cruzing to Trumping; flipping through the debate channels (why is nothing else on TV these days?)…I guess the only thing that actually made me smile on this topic was a picture of Bill Clinton saying: “I chose other woman over Hillary- you should too!”

A few months back I was speaking with someone who has a terrible commute each day to and from work. I asked him what does he do with his endless time on the bus. “Well today for example,” he said, “I listened to the Republican Presidential Debate”. That is someone I tip my hat to after a long day at work. Dare I say, I respect this man? But I would rather listen to my country music, if we are being honest here. (Which we obviously are it seems).

Maybe I’ll just call someone I respect who did those hours of research already and ask them who they are voting for. Maybe I’ll call that guy and ask him who he is voting for. His beliefs can’t be that bad- could they? But before I even get to that stage there are a few things I need to do. First, I need to register as a voter—Oh ya, in the 12 years since I could vote, I have never registered. But it’s been on my to-do list, I promise. Then I need order an absentee ballot. Then it needs to arrive (and with the Postal service these days, that is no small thing!) Then I need to formulate an opinion, vote, and I might do all that just to call my mother and say “Mom, be proud! I voted…” Of course I won’t tell her who I voted for in case I chose the wrong person.

About the Author
Sarah Bechor is a freelance writer in addition to her full-time job at United Hatzalah. She made Aliyah in 2007 and now lives with her husband and children in Gush Etzion.
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