Soul of a Nation

It is well past time to ask yourself a few critical questions about our respective governments: Questions such as “what kind of nation are we?” or “do we want to govern ourselves or let others do the job for us?” and most critically, “does our government reflect our values?” All of these questions need to be answered sooner rather than later.

If politicians can manipulate others into do their bidding for their own personal aggrandizement via fraud, abuse of power or threats to the rule of law, what government will be left after this happens? Do you mind this behavior and consent to or condone it by remaining silent? Or do you rear up on your hind legs and shout to the world “this is not the nation our forefathers envisioned, and we are going to take it back!” More importantly, if you are a parent, ask yourself this question: “do I want to raise children that steal, lie and cheat others? Is this the way to “succeed” in life?”

The problem of capitulation to the will of others, be it nations or individuals, is that you lose your legitimacy to change anything for the better ever again. Your moral clarity has evaporated in an instant and you can no longer advise others how to live their lives free of corruption without sounding like a raging hypocrite.

If Israeli voters will tolerate a quid pro quo and allow utility companies (or cottage cheese manufacturers, for that matter) to go unchecked, unregulated and unstopped from raising fees to astronomical levels, why complain when politicians similarly run amok with our hard-earned kesef? The truth of the matter is we have always had the power to effect change. We just have to do it in numbers that impress upon others that we mean business and will no longer tolerate being ignored.

Similarly, if Americans think a sitting president has the ability to forge international relations with no one overseeing his or her actions, one shouldn’t be at all surprised when a local protest or defensive measure morphs into open warfare. The American Constitution has provisions regarding “advise and consent” for a damn good reason.

Fortuitously, both the U.S.’s and Israel’s primary source for rejecting policies anathema to its survival resides in their respective Supreme Courts. People that do not take a hard look at the selection processes for justices to these critical benches cannot act surprised when cherished values held by the majority succumb to the will of the few.

Both Israel and America have very effective brakes on abuse of power via their respective judicial and legislative systems and they can either be applied to stop an unpopular policy or action taken by our governments or they can be neglected and lead to disaster.

The thing most people do not quite grasp is that when any politician abuses the system and engages in illegal behavior, they create the opportunity for blackmail. And this is not a “one-off” situation by any means. Once this type of arrangement begins, it escalates. This endangers everyone’s security worldwide and is no small matter. This lets the blackmailer interfere in profound ways. Imagine a weapon systems manufacturer bribing a local politician for lucrative contracts only to find later that their product doesn’t work when needed.

The greatest weapon we have against fraud, abuse and corruption are laws and dedicated “whistleblowers.” They are the beacons of light that arrest criminal behavior. No government should be without their services. Thankfully, there are a few of these brave souls around to remind us that people can be raised to be honest, decent and hard-working and more concerned with the well-being of others than they are for themselves. Our society should reflect positive role models who were brought up knowing right from wrong. To ignore their protests is to destroy the fabric of our society in due course.

About the Author
Rachel Grenadier was an olah from the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2003 who returned to the United States in 2015. She really wanted to stay in Israel, but decided that having family members nearby was better for her health than a bunch of devoted, but crazed, Israeli friends who kept telling her hummous would cure her terminal heart condition. She has her B.A. and M.A. from George Mason University in Virginia and is the author of two books: the autobiographical "Israeli Men and Other Disasters" and "Kishon: The Story of Israel's Naval Commandoes and their Fight for Justice". She is now living in Virginia with her three Israeli psychologically-challenged cats and yet, denies being a "hoarder".
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