Tuesday, March 16, 2004

So this morning, in the shower, I was thinking about traffic fatalities, and how stupid it is that the US is so concerned with terrorism, when by far more Americans die every year in car accidents than they do in terrorist attacks. By far . The presidential candidate I want to see is someone who will get on TV and say “it’s the car accidents, stupid.” Same thing in Israel. I was so mad I thought about starting my own political party that stands for better enforcement of the speed limit, more traffic circles, and more “road rage” and seat-belt education. I was just hopping mad that more people aren’t paying attention to this.

Then, while walking to work, I got mad at Jordan. The country. On behalf of the Palestinians in the West Bank, I felt righteous indignation against Jordan. Because, you know, before 1967, these people were Jordanians. And then the Israelis take over – the hows and whys are for a different time, I’m just looking at one particular aspect of this big ugly situation right now, so please don’t flame me—and you would think – you would think —that the other Jordanians, the ones on the East Bank, would say “oh, no, our countrymen need a place to live! Come here, brothers! Live with us!” But nooooo. Thanks to an Arab League resolution in 1949 not to absorb Arab refugees from Israel, all those people and their children and grandchildren are living in refugee camps to this day.

I was thinking how I would feel if I were still back on America’s East Coast, and some foreign country took over – for whatever reason-- and I decided it would be best to skip town. Don’t you think the people in, say, St. Louis and Milwaukee and Los Angeles and Seattle and Houston would feel horrified shock that other Americans were in trouble, and would open their homes and towns and communities? I’d like to think so. But if they didn’t, I’d be hopping mad. I would shout “Hellooooo! I’m a FELLOW AMERICAN!!!! You can’t just leave me in the lurch! You can’t betray your FELLOW AMERICAN!!!!”

And here these Jordanians just let their own countrymen live in refugee camps for 37 years . Those Jordanians suck! If you want to argue that the Israelis shouldn’t be playing a part in the Palestinians living in refugee camps – well, do what you gotta do, but I’m not touching that on Chayyei Sarah. But even if you think the Israelis are at fault, the Jordanians still suck. “Arab brotherhood” my ass. They left their “brothers” high and dry. It’s disgusting.

So, in this pleasant frame of mind I got to work, and entered to two of my colleagues discussing an event that one of them is planning at her synagogue, to raise awareness of the 2-billion-dollar (or was it shekel? Still a lot)-per-year sex slave industry in Israel. It seems that a lot of people are abducting girls from the former Soviet Union, from Egypt, from all sort of places, and smuggling them into Israel to be sex slaves. Not consentual prostitutes, but SLAVES. There are thousands of them all over the place, and the Israeli Army turns a blind eye when trucks full of these girls cross the border from Egypt. My, my, how lovely. All these Israeli men being serviced by kidnapped girls. That’s lovely.

So, we have preventable traffic fatalities, and sucky Jordanians, and sex slaves. Don’t forget that all but two of Israel's rivers are contaminated, and the garbage everywhere. And the fact that we’d probably have peace in the Middle East if we could just stop with the oil and get with the solar energy program, but nooooo, the oil lobby in America is too powerful, so Israelis are getting blown up thanks to the money the West is feeding the terrorists so we can drive our fancy cars.

Oh, yeah, later I found a book in the bathroom of my office about interfaith marriages. There was a chapter with “advice from children of interfaith marriages,” in which the interviewees were basically all like “Thanks, Mom and Dad, for giving me no identity at all, no moral compass, and no culture I can completely call my own. ‘twas real good of you.” Yeah, interfaith marriage, that's another thing. It did nothing to improve my mood.

So, basically, the world is going to pot. I realize that there are many good people out there—actually, considering how many people out there are really decent, nice human beings, it’s surprising that the world isn’t a much more pleasant place – but apparently there are two problems:

1. A huge number of not-nice people and

2. A lack of systems in place that help nice people actually DO something with their niceness. For example, I’m sure that a lot of Israelis would recycle their metals and glass, if such a thing were set up here. And if there were more traffic circles and lower speed limits that were enforced, I’m sure that very few people would deliberately cause car accidents.

I feel like the world is a raging river of polluted water, and the nice guys of the world are trying to stop up the holes in the dam with our tie-dye t-shirts and peace-sign necklaces, and meanwhile the manure of the world is just rushing right past us, and there’s no way to stop it.

I guess the fact that God hasn’t just decided to start all over again means there’s always hope that good will prevail. But there’s too much to do.

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