Isaac Herzog
Isaac Herzog
Photo: Courtesy
A mob of Trump supporters storming the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021

Rules of the game of democracy

Opinion: Democracy, statehood, institutions, ethos and heritage are big, amorphous words, sometimes too complex for a short slogan; but they are the foundation that holds us together and without them, different groups of people coexist

Isaac Herzog |
Published: 01.11.21 , 10:38
A group of citizens attacked the American democracy, the silent fortress, the founding values ​​and ideas of the United States, the adherence to the rules of the game.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • They contemned and desecrated every symbol and image, every line in the furrowed face of the United States of America, a nation that has known major internal conflicts and upheavals over the centuries - and prevailed.
    Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol
    A mob of Trump supporters storming the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021
    (Photo: AP)
    Once again, the United States of America defended and protected its basic infrastructure when on the same day - with its head held high - the U.S. Congress ratified the decision of the people in democratic elections, affirming that Joe Biden is the 46th President-elect. Shortly afterwards outgoing President Donald Trump announced he would make an orderly transition of power on January 20.
    The United States of America has once again proven that the greatest democracy in the world is stronger than any individual.
    It’s structural and ideological institutions have already proven their stability in the face of evil spirit as well as internal and external threats.
    As a student at Ramaz Jewish High School in New York, my teenage years provided me with in-depth knowledge of the American Constitution.
    I arrived there just shortly after the explosion of the Watergate scandal, President Nixon's resignation and two years later, another change of government with Republican President Gerald Ford being replaced by Democratic President Jimmy Carter.
    Amidst such turbulence power was transitioned, and life went on.
    For many generations, many Jews found refuge in the United States, in greater numbers after World War II; not only due to its spirit of equality and freedom, but mainly due to its impressive democratic regime.
    Many of them testified to have found a reflection of Jewish values ​​embodied in the words of the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution. After their world was shattered during the Holocaust, they found in those words the strength to rebuild.
    At times, we all tend to take words too lightly. We are wrong to think their effect passes with the end of a speech, tweet or curse.
    U.S. Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress U.S. Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress
    U.S. Capitol police officers point their guns at a door to the Senate Chamber as a mob tries to break in, Jan, 6, 2021
    (Photo: TNS)
    The severe violence in Washington, D.C. was not just a breach of the rules of the game of the greatest democracy in the world. It was the embodiment of the power of words to light flames that can burn down an entire world of values.
    Democracy, statehood, institutions, ethos and heritage are big, amorphous words, sometimes too complex for a short slogan; but they are the solid foundation that holds together our disagreements. Without this safe space, different groups of people cannot live together.
    Words continue to resonate, creating their own life and interpretation, which is intensified and enhanced by those who loosen their tongue and throw their own brothers to the dogs.
    Words have the power to create a reality and change it, to destroy and rebuild. When focused on identities rather than essences, the power of words is far greater than the fragility of the rules of the game facing an angry, determined crowd.
    The democratic rules of the game require not only knowing how to win, but also learning to accept defeat - and just as it is easy to accept the rules when you are on one side of the event, it is imperative to accept them when you are on the other side. This is the entire democratic doctrine.
    The lesson of the difficult events in the United States must therefore be engraved in our minds and hearts.
    These days, when the Israeli public arena is bubbling for two consecutive years in an endless election campaign, the boiling point is very close - too close.
    ההפגנה בבלפורההפגנה בבלפור
    Anti-Netanyahu protests outside the prime minister's official residence in Jerusalem
    (Photo: AFP)
    Unfounded hatred and polarization demand heavy prices, but the heaviest of all is the erosion of our national resilience. When each group feels threatened, when everyone gathers within their own worlds - and not only during the coronavirus lockdown – the resulting alienation deepens with every passing day; not only between individuals and groups, but also between citizens and their country.
    These days, all public leaders must act as a moderating, calming voice. They should mind their words, use words to emphasize the importance of keeping the rules of the game, stand up and defend democracy and its guiding principles, stop the violence.
    A person's life is defined by the decisions he or she makes along the way. And these days, we are all required to rise to the moment and defend our democracy.
     
    Isaac Herzog is the Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and former Leader of the Opposition in the Knesset.
    Talkbacks for this article 0