Adam and Eve in the Garden, and the misadventures of Rep Mark Foley and other public figures: what do they have in common?
What they have in common is man’s total uwillingness to take responsibility for his own actions, and his total willingness to blame someone else. Adam violates Gods edict about eating from the forbidden tree. God confronts him. What does Adam do? He blames his “problem” – Eve: “The woman you gave me talked me into it.”
God confronts Eve. What does she do? “The serpent persuaded me to do it.” She is not responsible. Her problem, called the serpent, made her do it.
Adam and Eve could be in today’s headlines. All that is missing from their story is today’s crocodile-tearful public apology and the retreat to a rehabilitation center, after which they would be re-admitted to their Paradise. But there was as yet no public, and God had somehow forgotten to create rehab centers in the first seven days. Unfortunately for them, the only public they could address — God Himself — is singularly unimpressed with their excuses . He gives them appropriate rehabilitation: they are permanently banished from the Garden.
The Divine message: you and no one else are responsible and accountable for your actions.
It is a message that still has not gotten through to mankind. Fast forward to our times: What do American public figures do when they get into trouble? Note the predictable behavior in these typical cases: 1) Rush Limbaugh, America’s premier talk show host, purveyor of traditional values and conservative virtues, is discovered to be involved in substance abuse. 2) Rep. Patrick Kennedy is caught driving drunk in Washington D.C. 3) Just recently, Rep Mark Foley sends innuendo-filled emails to his young congressional pages.
What do they do? They follow the time- honored , well-rehearsed choreography: 1) they make a public apology; b) they put the blame on their “problem”; and c) they enter a rehab center for treatment. The successful spin is that they had done nothing really wrong — and the public, instead of seeing through the cynical charade, feels sorry for them. Far from being in violation of accepted legal and moral standards, they are metamorphosed into innocent victims of “problems “ over which they had no control.
Since everything American soon becomes de rigueur in Israel, these rituals , if faithfully mimicked, might benefit the current sorry state of public affairs in our Jewish state.
As a free service to the individuals involved , I hereby propose the following resignation announcements for use by some of Israel’s public officials:
PM Olmert: I apologize for my inept handling of the recent war and its aftermath. Our prisoners are still not released, and rockets still fall in Sderot as in days of yore. But it is not my fault that I am PM. If Sharon had not gotten sick, if he had only had the wisdom to take better care of himself, then I would not be here. It is his fault, not mine. I hereby resign and am having myself admitted to a rehab center for treatment for my Sharon problem.
Minister of Defense Peretz: I admit that I have a dismal record as Defense Minister, but it is not my fault. It is Olmert’s fault. He appointed me to this job. He knew full well that I had no experience for it, and that I did not know the difference between a rifle and a cannon. The war was botched from beginning to end, and I am sorry about that . But if Sharon had taken care of his health, and if Olmert had not appointed me, I would still be back in my favorite job of calling national garbage strikes. I have a problem in that I allowed Olmert to persuade me to take this job. I therefore offer my resignation, and will immediately admit myself to a rehab center to treat my Olmert/Sharon problem.
Foreigh Minister Livni: I readily admit that I have no qualifications to be Foreign Minister, but it is not my fault. Olmert and Peretz talked me into it, and I have a problem in that I love having a large staff, a fancy office and a private chauffeur. I need to work on my Olmert/Peretz/power problem, and for this reason I resign and admit myself to a rehab center.
Chief of Staff Dan Halutz: The armed forces did not do well, but I have several problems. One of them is Sharon. He appointed me to this job over a year ago over many more capable people, because I was the only general who was willing to oversee the evacuation of the Jews of Gaza. I have a problem and it is Sharon’s juggernaut personality. My second problem is my stock portfolio which is a great distraction. I also admit publicly that I put more planning into evacuating Jews from Gaza than in evacuating Hizbollah from Lebanon. These are all problems for which I will be treated as I admit myself to a rehab center after my resignation.
There are many other candidates for Israeli rehab centers, but unfortunately there are not enough such centers to meet the demand. American Jewry is initiating an emergency campaign for new Israeli rehab centers , but meanwhile Pres. Katzir, Chaim Ramon, the inner cabinet, most Knesset members and city mayors, the Supreme Court, and the media will simply have to wait their turn. Pre-printed resignation messages will be available for each of them upon application. A similar pre-packaged service will shortly be available for export to public figures world-wide, in fulfillment of the age-old dream that out of Zion shall go forth excuses, and rehabilitation centers from Jerusalem.