The Teenagers Have Taken the Wheel

As an American expat living in Israel, I have experienced first-hand how Israelis view us. We seem to them to be hopelessly naive and in a lot of cases, spoiled.

I try to tell them that this image is wrong, and that in most cases Americans are hardworking and down-to-earth. Granted, the American lifestyle is wealthy by Israeli standards, but most people earn that lifestyle – it doesn’t just fall in their laps.

In terms of naivete, I also tell them that there are many who serve in the Armed services, and are as tough as IDF soldiers. But, I also admit,  because Americans do not have to deal with terrorism close to home (and thank G-d for that) they are in a sense naive.

That naivete has expressed itself with the election today. It seems that people with stars in their eyes have swept a man with the depth of a Hallmark greeting card into the White House, while rejecting a man who has proven his character both in the POW camp and in the Senate. Promises of more money and cheaper health care (does anyone really think he can afford to do this now???), and the “idea” of a black man as president have won the day. This in spite of his very liberal voting record (what there is of it) and some very disturbing associations.

I used to agree with a lot of liberal ideas, too, so I know the appeal. But I was a teenager then.

After spending a year in Israel, visiting Yad Vashem, and getting to know families that have lost their loved ones to both wars and terrorist attacks, I changed my views. Later, after making aliyah, and seeing first-hand what it is like to live in a semi-socialist country, I became even more conservative.

I can’t help but think that my viewpoint now is more realistic and adult, and that the safe cocoon of American life has kept a lot of people from growing up. Now the teenagers have taken the wheel.


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Taharah
    Nov 05, 2008 @ 07:42:33

    I stumbled upon your blog…love it! The fourth paragraph is terrific. Hope it is okay to quote you.

  2. Jack
    Nov 05, 2008 @ 08:25:57

    I am telling you that McCain made a fatal mistake when he made Palin is running mate. She is despised and distrusted by so many independents tat would have voted for him.

  3. Ben-David
    Nov 05, 2008 @ 11:25:55

    Mama –
    We are gen-Xers sandwiched between the narcissistic Boomer generation – and the equally narcissistic “self-esteem” generation.

    For a bit of humor on this day:

  4. ilanadavita
    Nov 05, 2008 @ 12:10:21

    I agree with Jack, Palin was a huge mistake, especially considering Senator McCain’s age.

  5. Lena
    Nov 05, 2008 @ 13:42:42

    I rather appreciate the socialist element to Israel. I left the U.S. primarily because I didn’t feel like anyone cared about anyone and that people had to scream and claw for very basic needs.

  6. Leora
    Nov 05, 2008 @ 14:37:49

    Jack, I am beginning to think maybe you are right. Though I also think McCain didn’t want to fight dirty. He was actually the first candidate for President that I actually liked, instead of just disliking the other guy more.

    Onwards and upwards. I do hope we get no attacks on us because of this election. But others warn otherwise.

  7. soccer dad
    Nov 05, 2008 @ 15:45:47

    Palin was the victim of a vicious media orchestrated campaign. Her negatives are largely the result of that. But when she campaigns, she draws enthusiastic crowds.

    Yes I’ve been using the driving metaphor too. You don’t give the keys to a 14 year old, no matter how bright he/she is.

  8. Jack
    Nov 05, 2008 @ 18:28:34

    McCain gave an outstanding speech last night. It was quite well done. To me it was among the best I have seen him give. I wish that he would have come across so well during the debates.

    Soccer Dad,

    We’re going to have to disagree about Palin’s problems being media orchestrated. She has a tremendous number of challenges to overcome which is why conservatives like George Will Ben Stein and Parker voiced their concern about her inclusion.

    Frankly I was really surprised that McCain didn’t pick a running mate with more experience. It would have given him an easier road to hoe. He could have hammered Obama on his lack of experience and said that he needed more seasoning before becoming president.

    The other issue is that any Republican following Dubya was going to be in a very bad place. At the moment he leaves a bad legacy to follow. In time it may change and people may decide that his policies were wise, but at the moment…

  9. westbankmama
    Nov 06, 2008 @ 15:11:57

    Tahara – welcome to my blog, and I am flattered that you want to quote me. Go right ahead!

    Jack – I think McCain picked her to energize the conservative base, which is exactly what happened. If she alienated the independents then that was a chance he took. Personally I love her – and I think she was unfairly vilified by the press. Most of the fears that people had about her were based on unfound rumors.

    Papa – that was funny. I think we all need some humor now…

    ilanadavita – in most cases the VP choice is not very important, but you are right in that this case it carried more weight.

    Lena – there are some good aspects to the socialist mentality – but in general it keeps people back.

    Leora – I sincerely hope that noone gets it into his head to try more terror attacks in America, but I am afraid that they will. Hopefully we will never know because they will be caught before they can carry them out.

    soccerdad – I agree with you. Hopefully this teenager will turn out to be more mature than we fear, and will be a good president.

    Jack – I think that it will take some time, but America will realize what a good president Bush was.

  10. Jack
    Nov 06, 2008 @ 16:08:22

    Most of the fears that people had about her were based on unfound rumors.

    I think that you’d have to list those fears to determine if they were based upon unfound rumors. I can only speak for myself but the majority of my issues with her were based upon fact.

    The thing about politicians and judges is that until they begin serving we never really know what they are going to do. Earl Warren is a good example, his court was far different than many people anticipated it being.

  11. David
    Nov 07, 2008 @ 01:54:49

    I am sorry but this article is a bit naive in itself. The biggest reason Obama won over McCain is because Americans are tired of the politics and McCain is an icon of the split that is tearing Americans apart. Obama brings hope while McCain preaches fear. McCain promised a clean campaign and fueled the boos and disdain for Obama while Obama quelled the boos with his often used phrase “you don’t need to boo. you just need to vote” We as American people need unity. We need a president we can be proud of. Obama has already made us proud to be Americans and has brought hope to the rest of the world.

  12. Irina
    Nov 07, 2008 @ 03:39:36

    The problem is many of these “teenagers” are well into their thirties and forties…

    And while people are supposed to have better judgment with experience and age… I think many people tend to vote based on emotion and expectations of immediate gratification. So in that respect, I guess we ARE spoiled as a nation.

  13. aliyah06
    Nov 08, 2008 @ 20:03:09

    Many like David think that Obama won on the merits rather than on emotion. I disagree.

    I have talked to too many of my fellow Californians who voted for Obama — and they are fueled by “change” (but can’t explain what that means except that it means a Dem come-back and no more Bush); they feel Obama “will be good for the country” but can’t explain how (no specifics–again, it’s simply their ‘feeling’ that he will “help the economy”, “make things better”, “bring us together”–lots of sound-bytes but no substance); they like Obama because he’s young (never mind that he has zilch experience–most law firms won’t let you handle a routine de minimus case with 143 days of experience–much less run the firm); he’s handsome and speaks well (although the content is all too often long on emotional rhetoric and short on detail); they ‘feel’ that the world “will like us (Americans) again” if we elect a “young, multicultural, multi-racial” liberal (Americans have this wierd thing about needing to be “liked” by the world )and there is also a strong Democratic white-guilt element that no one talks about—oh, gee, aren’t I/we neatsy keen folks because we’re soooo non-racist, we’re voting for a Black guy (with NO executive experience, but oh, nevermind, what’s important is that we’re proving we’re not racists……) Sheesh. Teenagers? More like a nation of media-manipulated sheep. Let’s all say, O-‘Baahhhhhhhh’-ma.

    I am totally disgusted with a nation of people who voted with their rock-star-happening feelings rather than with their brains. They deserve what they get.

  14. Coolima
    Nov 09, 2008 @ 07:49:21

    How dare you call Americans naive? Have you noticed the political line-up at home? Need I remind you that when the Left gave the Arabs weapons, they (headed by Yossi Beilin)responded to the protests of the Right, Well, if the dare use them against us, we’ll just take them back.

  15. How to Get Six Pack Fast
    Apr 15, 2009 @ 13:21:26

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