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September 2, 2012 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Ki Tavo

In this week’s portion, Moses and the elders command the people to set up large stones listing various commandments at the entrance of the Promised Land (Deut. 27).

Nachmanides notes that Moses involved the elders “because every nation follows the advice of its elders.”

How different from our own nation!  Once upon a time this nation was led by its “elders” – experienced politicians like Johnson, Nixon, Reagan and the elder Bush.

But over the past 20 years we have gone in the opposite direction: first the young (but somewhat experienced, insofar as he had been governor of Arkansas forever) Clinton, the less experienced Bush (five years as the not-too-powerful governor of Texas), and the incredibly inexperienced Obama (two years in the Senate before he started running for President, and four years on Inauguaration Day).  Romney isn’t much better: four years as governor of Mass., some of which were no doubt spent plotting his presidential campaign (though he did have a highly controversial private sector career).

At the state level its even worse.  In 2010, business tycoon Rick Scott ran for governor of Florida.  Since his business associates had a nasty habit of being indicted, you might think his record would disqualify him from public office.  But instead he was elected because (1) at least he wasn’t indicted himself, (2) he used his enormous wealth to brainwash the public into thinking his lack of political experience was an asset, and (3) he wore the magic label “Republican” which (at least in 2010) washed away all sins.  Instead of electing our “elders” we elect political neophytes who can buy votes by buying more campaign ads than anyone else.

Unfortunately our populace has lost faith in experience- partially because even the “elders” made big mistakes (see Vietnam, Watergate), but partially because the mass media (both left and right) has bamboozled them into thinking everyone is a crook.  As a result, we have a never-ending revolving door of ever-more-childlike leaders.

Maybe we have declined since the days of Nachmanides.  (Though to be fair, the rest of the world mostly elects grownups…)

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