One of the privileges of my job is that I set my own hours. That means I can go to the gym in the mornings when everyone else my age is busy getting stuck in traffic jams on government owned and controlled Route 5 trying to get to a crowded office somewhere near Tel Aviv or Petach Tikva. It also means that I’m usually the only, or at least one of the very few, youngish people at the gym in the mornings. Everyone else is an old guy post retirement hanging out and complaining.
I usually don’t join in the conversation in the locker room after a workout. This is because the subject matter usually has to do with nutrition, and my approach to nutrition is pretty much diametrically opposed to what these pensioners have been taught their whole lives. I eat large amounts of fat, cholesterol, and protein, they think I’m going to die young, and they eat “whole grains”. I don’t trouble myself with trying to convince retirees that they’ve been poisoning themselves for 60-80 years which is why they’re on so many prescription drugs and everything they’ve been taught is wrong, because if someone eats the wrong stuff that’s their business. I leave them alone. That and the conversation is in Hebrew and drumming up the strength to switch languages and get my brain into Hebrew mode isn’t worth the effort.
But today they started talking about how supposedly “difficult” the job of Prime Minister of Israel is. That it is the “most difficult” job and one has to be a genius to do it well. My stomach began to turn, because I could see where this was going.
One of the younger old guys drew me in to the conversation. He said, “I have such a high opinion of Netanyahu, I admire him SO much, the man is so X, so Y, so Z” where X Y and Z are all good amazing things. He fawned. My soul vomited slightly. If someone wants to poison himself, fine. But when you start loving people who control MY life and steal from ME, then I start caring.
So I took the bait. I don’t care about Netanyahu. Netanyahu is irrelevant. It’s the fact that someone can value a person because he rules over him that pisses me off.
I asked, “האם יש משהו שנתניהו יכול לעשות באופן תאורטי כדי שאתה לא תעריץ אותו?”
“Is there anything that Netanyahu could theoretically do that would cause you to stop admiring him?”
He thought for about three seconds, and then said, “I don’t think like you. I look at the good. I don’t look at the bad.”
“So there’s nothing he could do, he could kill anybody, steal from anybody, kick anyone out of their home and you would still love him?” I asked.
“I know your approach, I don’t agree with it. I try to find the good.”
Then I started paraphrasing some Chumash to him angrily. “How wonderful it was in Egypt when we sat on the meat pots and ate bread to our fill! They threw our babies in the Nile and enslaved us but we love the Egyptians! We look at the good side!”
Then the whole thing devolved into “What’s your approach” and me saying I’m an anarchist and them ganging up and saying the standard cliches like the rich will eat the poor and we’ll all kill each other etc.
Then I realized. The old people are a lost cause. They grew up in the state and they will die with the state. It’s the young people that matter. The ones that are pissed off, the ones that know it can be so much better if the rulers would just go away and get a job. The ones who understand that loving a political leader unconditionally no matter how much he abuses you and steals from you and kicks your family out of their homes, is insanity, Egyptian slave mentality insanity.
If you’re young and you’re reading this and you’re pissed off with politics, stay gold, as Ponyboy would say.