Nine years ago, on November 4th 1995, I wasn't at the big peace rally at the square. I was standing behind the bar in The Smoking Dog, the bar I worked at, which was also my favorite bar. It was the Dog's closing night. The place had been bought about a year previously by two partners who managed to bungle things up so much that they lost a sizable portion of the clientele, so they decided to close the place with a big blow out party, which would help recoup some of their losses. They thought the night of the big rally would be an excellent choice, as masses of people would be in a great mood and up for one last drink fest at the Dog.
Obviously, that plan didn't really pan out. I remember someone walking in and shouting "they shot Rabin" and walking out. Quickly, more sources confimred it, and the big bash became a small wake. I was numb. I never liked Rabin. I had protested some of his previous actions, such as the deportation of 400 Hamas leaders to Lebanon. But in recent months, I had began to appreciate that the man was overgoing a profound change. He had realized that it was time for peace. I was at the rally before that last one, and it was a joyous occasion. It was strange to finally be in a rally FOR something, rather than against, and it was wonderful. There was an optimism which this country had not experienced for decades, and hasn't really experienced since.
Sure, some people were protesting against Rabin and his moves for peace with Syria and the Palestinians, but they were clearly in the minority. They were calling Rabin a traitor and a Nazi and many other things, but that didn't really scare us. They were just proving themselves to be the lunatic fringe we've always known they were.
And then came the rally I didn't attend, and we learned what history has already proven many times before – that the lunatic fringe can and will change history with a gun, or a sword or a knife. And Peres lost the next elections, and optimism was lost. For my generation, November 4th is the most infamous of dates, the most bitter of reminders, and as long as the job Rabin started isn't finished, it shall remain so.
Now, another Prime Minister is trying to do something that should have been done long ago – pull this country out of Gaza. 9 years ago, he was a leader of those who called Rabin a traitor. Now, the lunatic fringe is calling him a traitor. And it may yet end behind the barrel of a gun.
But for me, despite its bitterness, November 4th is a also sweet. Five years ago, on November 4th, I met Tammy, who has been my girlfriend, and is now my partnet in life.
It's been a hard five years. We've had the kind of trials and tribulations most couples have, plus some trials most people are fortunate enough not to experience. But we've overcome those. We live in our own apartment, and we pay the mortgage, and we work (and both continue to make strides in our work) and meet our friends. We live, and we still have hope. And that's a victory in and of itself.
And it's been a hard decade. for this country. But the most notorious figure in the country's right wing may be leading the country out of Gaza. There's still hope. And that, too, is a victory.
As I read blogs on the web today, many staunch Democrats are despairing. I can understand that, and I can empathize with that. But I say to them: Don't. The American nation has rebounded from reelecting Nixon and Reagen. It will rebound from reelecting your current piss-poor excuse for a president.
ps. I wrote this 4 hours ago, but Blogger has been frelled today.