There was a reality show where women went to places like the bathroom or the shower or a cafe and ended up giving birth, when they didn’t even know they were pregnant. I thought it was totally nuts. How could someone not know they are pregnant for nine months? What about the kicking? The change in the shape of your body? The food aversions? I mentioned the actually living creature kicking you from the inside, right?
But now, around eight months into Corona and this Pandemic in Israel, I kind of see how those ladies had a baby without realizing the signs.
Israeli politicians are popping out babies left and right (politically speaking of course). Week after week, baby Corona grew. We could all see the baby bump. At first it was at the place where you don’t want to say anything unless you are wrong. Then it became more obvious, so you discussed it with friends and family…”did you see the numbers.” “They just keep growing.” “I heard the hospitals are over capacity from my friend who’s a nurse and worked overtime everyday this week.” “Remember the days when they said if we hit 100 a day we will have to take precautionary measures?”
And while the bump grew and grew, somehow the politicians just seemed to carry on, as though the baby wasn’t kicking. Maybe they thought the protesters were gas, or the positive tests were just overeating. The acid reflux was just medical teams overworked and underpaid, but what’s new about that?
We all worried that maybe the government didn’t get it…the bump was legit there and somehow they didn’t mention it. Not in a real way. There were hints about the gains, what would they do, but they kept on going. It got to that point where the belly had dropped. The baby was ready to go. And somehow, whether it was denial, stupidity or political will, they kept about their business, collecting their paychecks, arguing about settlements, peace treaties and possible new elections, even after the contradictions were close together and the head was out.
At a Yom Kippur War Memorial last month, Defense Minister Benny Gantz declared that Corona was similar to that war, taking the government by surprise. And now caught off guard, what were they supposed to do?
So the politicians had their baby, the second wave and called him (it’s not a her), “the second lockdown.”
The baby needed to be taken care of. So despite the shock of this surprise, the politicians reacted, like any new parents. Diapers, diapers, diapers, to clean up the sh*t storm. Layers. Layers just in case the baby is cold, even on a hot day. We all know how Jewish mothers can judge. Feed the baby, not just milking the headlines, but pumping the news full of stories to slant the truth, not just fake it.
When the baby cries, you sooth it, by letting the protests continue in the neighborhoods, or prayer services outdoors. You keep it warm with blanket statements that mean nothing. Coo when it whimpers, making promises you can’t keep (what’s that song where momma’s gonna buy you a diamond ring)…
And now that the baby is here, do you get the feeling it is still being ignored? Or not taken seriously? Like those times when you can smell that the diaper needs to be changed, but you are waiting for someone else to do it? If you are Bibi, then you capture the milestones, “tremendous success,” you shout out to the citizens who no longer trust you and your government. But after, when you look in the mirror, do you see the stains left behind?
If the baby is here, then you have to have some kind of a plan. So the politicians have colored within the lines. Nicknamed it a traffic light. They made a logo, printed out some educational pamphlets. But again they don’t actually realize the baby is there. It needs attention and love. It can’t just be a decision voted on at midnight, or something you keep calling a surprise.
The denial, the story, the things you keep telling your cabinet, your citizens, the journalists, there has to be a point where you become responsible.
The baby grew and grew.
Like any parent would tell you, you have to just do the best you can. So to all those politicians, still driving home on our taxes, breaking your own rules, sticking with bureaucracy rather than strategizing, you can do better. Learn to be a partner, ask for help, stop trying to do it one way, or the way the whisperer said. Pay attention to what’s really going on with the baby.
Give the baby what the baby needs.