Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What's Out There For Us?

I look on Yahoo and hear that the George Zimmerman trial has resulted in violent rioting in Los Angeles. I watch YouTube videos of thugs ruthlessly attacking each other. I see a government constantly losing control of its people. I see so many things that make me question the very country we have the displeasure of living in. Every country in the world has its own problems, that’s for damn sure. But for America, a country that is supposed to be the greatest in the world, we sure have a hell of a lot of problems. 

Racial tensions, educational stagnancy, politically driven paranoia. Our country is so in debt that we live each day essentially under the control of other countries. What does that make us? Puppets? Is China our puppet master? Now, I’m not going to sit here and claim to know everything about politics and the economy. But there are such blatant issues that nobody, even the least receptive person alive, could miss. 

I was speaking to my brother today and he brought up an interesting point. He said that the Constitution may as well be thrown out because, to us, it’s archaic and essentially useless. He told me that the Patriot Act is all the proof one needs to conclude that the Constitution is not an integral part of the modern American society. Ironic that the Patriot Act is named that. A patriot would defend freedom of speech, he/she would defend the fundamental liberties that the Constitution initially ensured. A patriot wouldn’t snoop around, essentially spying on Americans. 

Isn’t it disgusting that these kind of riots happen? That people have such little fear of the government that they actually try to take law into their own hands? Even beyond that, they hurt other people, innocent people, because everyone is rioting, so why not break into department stores and steal whatever we can grab? And what does our president, someone who is intended to be the most powerful and feared figure in the government, do? He politely asks the rioters to disperse peacefully. Where is the power? Where is the force? Where is the sense of nationalism? 

When something goes wrong, it’s quite rare that neighbors turn to each other with a helping hand. If there is a sense of American nationalism alive today, I certainly haven’t seen it around recently. What’s strange is that, sitting here on a train in Israel, I look around at these people and I know they all gladly served in the army. I know soldiers in my friends’ units were ready to go in during Operation Pillar of Defense. They didn’t hesitate when asked to defend, and possibly die for, their country. They were upset when we didn’t go in. Because they love their homeland, a land we have been bound to for thousands of years. 

America is so diverse, I’ll give it that. But diversity certainly does not mean harmonious intermingling. I hail from East Memphis, Tennessee. My neighborhood is predominately white. How sick is it that people are uneasy when a black family moves into the neighborhood? Memphis is essentially segregated. The blacks go to black schools and the whites go to white schools. And we wonder why there is tension. Whereas here, there are so many reasons to hate each other. And some people do hate each other. But, for the most part, you look in front of you on Ben Yehuda and you see Arabs, Ethiopians, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Asians. You see so many different people constantly interacting. You see a culture that is the direct antithesis of apartheid. You see tension, but you also see an unbelievable amount of harmony. 

And damn it, the people here are happy and satisfied in their own skin. Most aren’t caught up in the materialistic world. Most are concerned with being themselves. Orthodox Jews go to Shul in shorts and a tshirt. It’s not about the brand of the shirt on your back and the pants on your ass. It’s about the content of your character. It’s about loving God in your own way. It’s about being yourself. If I walked into my Shul in shorts and a tshirt, people would look at me like I’m a disrespectful jerk. But here, here nobody cares about that so long as they see that you are seriously trying to connect with God in your own way. 

How do you expect to find a connection in Memphis, Tennessee? Or anywhere in America? It’s funny, the second I got here I felt like I was connected to the land. I felt like I came straight from the dirt. I see Israeli flags flying all around me and I could not be happier. Being here has so strengthened my spiritual connection to God, as well as my Zionist connection to the land of my forefathers. 

I’m walking where they walked. I’m looking at the land God promised us, the land we worked so long to attain. I’m looking at Moshe’s dream. I’m looking out at the Hills of Judea and I see a nation that has refused to die. I see a nation that has overcome persecutions, Pogroms, Crusades, and the Holocaust. Throughout history, we’ve been the scapegoat. We’ve been the ones who get slaughtered. But somehow we’ve overcome all of that. We’ve outlasted the great empires of the ancient world. We’ve become one of the most technologically advanced countries in the entire world. We’re still here and we have no intention of going away. We are very much in control of our own fate, no longer tied down by tyrannical rulers. 

We stand together, now and forever, for the Jewish people and God’s land. 

Now, I say all of this with absolutely no idea as to if I will end up here one day. But, the older I get, the more of a likelihood it becomes. I feel that if I don’t end up here one day I will be taking God’s endless protection for granted. And, as America continues to deteriorate, raising my children here becomes more and more logical. 

What kind of country do we have the displeasure of living in? What else is out there for us? Think about it. 

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