Talk is cheap. Ask anyone whose heart has been broken by someone who said all the right things, which turned out to be lies when the moment of truth arrived. It is true that some are more talented speakers than others, but the bottom line is that talking is easy; particularly if you are a politician, and even more so if you talked for a living until recently.
Talking is easy because people like to believe. They want to believe. Nice words are pleasant, and can often work on us even if the facts on the ground tell a different story. The problem begins when the gap between the words and the facts is too wide and the next words that come out are cast in a light of suspicion and mistrust.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid learned this over the weekend when he was booed while speaking at the Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv - a somewhat humiliating lesson for someone who has made a career out of nice words which his audience liked to hear. Lapid did seem a bit stunned.
In the days after the incident there were those who criticized the protesters, claiming the presence of a senior minister at the Pride Parade strengthens the LGBT community's status. But instead of wondering whether Lapid's presence at the Pride Parade contributes to the status of LGBT community members in Israel, we should be asking: What do the actions of the finance minister and his party contribute to the community? And the answer to that question is simple: Nothing at all.
Just recently Lapid, who speaks of the "right to love," refused to sign a bill submitted by the Labor Party for the advancement of gay marriage in Israel. Since then he explained (on Facebook, of course) that his Yesh Atid party did not sign the bill because Labor refused to submit it as a joint proposal. It is not clear whether this weak explanation holds water, as Likud and Hatunua had no problem signing. What's certain is that Yesh Atid apparently believes the right to love is important, but not as important as credit and battles of ego. Thus it becomes possible to say nice things about love, but vote against it when it is worded in laws that directly affect the lives of men and women in Israel.
We should also remember that the man who asked to talk about love at the Pride Parade is the same man who gave Habayit Hayehudi and its leader full control over all matters related to religion in the State of Israel, thus making certain that the only wedding ceremonies performed in Israel are those that are performed in accordance with the halacha (and in case you were wondering, gay marriages do not fall into this category). This is also the same man who voted in favor of appointing Eli Yishai as the Opposition's representative in the Committee for the Appointment of Rabbinic Judges instead of Merav Michaeli, who obviously supports gay marriage more than the former Shas chairman does.
All this was known to at least some of those who took part in the Gay Pride Parade, so when Lapid arrived last Friday to speak and be photographed under the rainbow flag, they did what anyone who has been lied to one too many times would do – they silenced him. Because there is a limit to how many empty promises one can hear.
This was an important lesson not only for Lapid, but for all of us. The lesson is clear: Buy earplugs, and remember that talk is cheap. It is the actions we all pay the price for.