If you read the current predictions, it seems that 2012 is gearing up to be a gloomy year. We have doomsday predictions of an unrelenting Global Economic Crisis – that’s how they write it, with capital letters, because it looks more frightening that way, and scary stuff makes good news. On top of that, we have the instability of the Arab Spring, even though it’s winter now, which makes sense since it is progressing into the Islamic Fundamentalist Winter, with extremist parties taking over Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Iraq, leaving the democracy-seeking demonstrators, the ones who rebelled to bring freedom to their countries, out in the cold. Syria and the Palestinian Authority are next. And then there’s Iran, where clearly we will be going to war, causing a Regional War and Nuclear Arms Race, perhaps Apocalyptic Nuclear War, perhaps even by the time you read these words. And the situation at home looks just as ugly. Even in the face of all these threats, politicians continue to bicker and focus on their own self-interests. Religious extremists, or should we call them what they are, Intolerant Fanatical Spitting Rock Throwing Hateful Ignoramuses Masquerading as Religious Jews, torment the lives of their brothers and sisters with their confused and outdated worldview, instead of lovingly enlightening them with the beauty and wisdom of Jewish spirituality. The religious and secular hate each other, the rich and poor are fighting in the streets, no one can seem to get along, and, to top it off, my neighbor’s cat is keeping me up at night.
What’s a simple Jew living in the midst of all this upheaval supposed to think? And when I say in the midst, I mean it literally in the middle – I am sitting now in Tzfat, in Northern Israel, surrounded by all these hostile people and a stone’s throw from the Lebanon border, where Hezbolla has 50,000 rockets aimed at me. So if anyone would have something to worry about, it would be me.
Call me naive, but in my mind, the excitement is overdone. The drama is being generated by the overactive imagination of pseudo-journalists seeking to outdo one another’s storylines, and a gullible public with an appetite for dystopian fantasies. Journalism, once the proud profession of objective documentarians has become a commercial enterprise and a creative art, a subdivision of Hollywood. What’s happening in the world? Whatever sells. And as the advertising market shrinks, they get increasingly desperate and competitive, taking each minor event or propaganda piece that they are fed and blowing it up into the story of the century. So here’s my version of the news, for those who want to know what’s really happening.
Right now the economy sucks and people are suffering. But the ups and downs of the economy are part of life, and we’ll get through it. It’s definitely not as bad as they’re making us think – especially as far as the average person is concerned. The fact is the world is more prosperous now than ever – we just need to find a way to ensure that the prosperity benefits everyone. True, people are starving, and this is tragic. But there’s more than enough wealth and food to go around, we just need to change the management system. Ever try to argue or deal with a stressful situation on an empty stomach? Fix this imbalance, make sure people are well-fed, and everyone will have clear heads, which will make the rest much easier to resolve.
In the meantime, Israel and America have the smartest and most powerful militaries in the world. We can protect ourselves. Islamic fundamentalists are taking over much the Middle East. But they’ll still be superstitious, backward civilizations that have nothing going for them other than oil, which they will need to keep exporting if they want to survive. And it’s only a matter of time before the world’s appetite for oil, or the oil itself, dries up. Either way, any plans for world domination and Jewish annihilation will be superseded by internal bickering, economic realities, and just plain incompetence – as it always has been – which may be the greatest proof in our time for the existence of G-d and that He’s on our side.
So relax. Don’t worry. Everything is going to be good. Everything is good. Overall, the transformations taking place are leading us to a better world. If anything, with a few small tweaks, we are heading for the Great Socio-Economic Upturn, which will be accompanied by the Global Revolution for World Peace and Prosperity and the Human Summer of Tolerance, Mutual Respect and Brotherly Love. We may as well join the bandwagon now to do our part, speed things up, and enjoy the ride.