Home > Politics > Ghouls and activists on halloween

Ghouls and activists on halloween

A week ago I met an activist. He told me so, as we navigated through the ghoul, princess and demon infested streets of West Philly, on Halloween eve.

I’d been forewarned he would try to get me to talk politics, a subject I find pointless; no argument, no matter how valid, will change the other person’s mind. We believe—myself included—what we want to believe although, since I’m aware of this basic human failing, I tend to question my beliefs a bit more than most people.

He did bring up the subject, while I noticed that the best and cutest costumes had been inflicted on babies and toddlers too small to fight back, by mentioning that, as an activist, he’d been personally involved in saving the people of East Timor.

I was impressed. I once saved a toddler from drowning in a hot tub and once contributed in saving a girl from drowning in the sea, almost drowning myself in the process, but I’ve not saved ‘a people.’ He followed his disclosure by asking me what I thought about Henry Kissinger’s recent assertion that Israel would disappear within ten years. It turned out that my new friend, the activist, was strongly anti-Zionist.

I didn’t know how to respond so I said that I am pro-Israel and don’t care what Kissinger has to say. After all, as foreign policy mastermind under Nixon, Kissinger pushed for detente, (before the Soviets invaded Afghanistan) and for strengthening the Shah of Iran as the key to peace in the middle east. No one should be surprised. Kissinger is a Harvard graduate and Harvard, as more and more people are coming to realize, is not the school to trust in Cambridge.

By this time I had been able to admire a few dogs dressed up for the occasion, some wearing whole outfits and a few wearing capes. One medium sized, brown dog, trotted past me wearing a towel, which led me to conclude that either the owner was out of capes or the dog had just stepped out of the shower. Ruth grabbed me by the arm, either to rescue me or to remind me that the whole point of our being there was to enjoy watching our three year old grandson learn how to extort candy from strangers through threats of an unspecified nature.

I’ve thought a bit about my discussion with my activist friend and realized he was the sort of well meaning person always pulling for the underdog, as do so many of us. Like rooting for the Phillies, Philadelphia’s beloved baseball team, a team that has amassed a record 10,000+ losses in its less than illustrious history.

And yet, in the 2000’s, for a few delicious years, the Phillies became the best team in baseball, winning a World Series (for only the second time in their history) thus proving that now and then, an underdog can turn the tables.

And so it is with Israel, who was, and remains, the underdog. They are that rarest of real life examples when the underdog overcomes the odds—as well as seven well armed and thoroughly indoctrinated Arab armies.

So now that Israel appears powerful (they are), those who came in late and root for the underdog see them as the bad guys. In truth, there has been a shift among Israelites. The continued Arab hatred and unwillingness to make peace—Hamas textbooks claim the Israelites were annihilated long ago thus making Zionists impostors with no historic claim to the land—and their endless assault via boycotts, hijackings, bombs, threats of annihilation and what not, have pushed the Israeli labor party out of relevance, shoved the liberals to the middle and the moderates to the right. So I understand how Israel may seem, to those with limited historic perspective, as the big, bad guys, when in truth Israel, with a population of less than eight million, remains David to the Arab Goliath. (Cairo alone has the same population as the whole of Israel).

I have been hoping to meet my activist friend again so that I can run my underdog theory by him although, in truth, I know it will be pointless.

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