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The Jewish Report Editorial

Forewarned is forearmed

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On Monday, we go to the polls for our local government election and for the first time in a long time, I’m hearing people questioning who they are going to vote for. Somehow, I have the sense that many are taking this election more seriously than before because they recognise that it will have a direct impact on their day to day lives.

People are genuinely trying to work out which person is going to be best for them and their suburb. I, for one, and most of the people I know are sick and tired of trying to avoid driving into the huge vehicle-destroying dongas on our roads. These seem to remain unfilled for months, and are exacerbated by the rainy season.

We are tired of power outages that last for days with no respite and apparently nobody doing anything about them either. We are tired of suddenly not having water coming through our taps.

The frustration is endless, and I would love to know that there was someone in a position of power who was on our side, making sure that when we have these problems, they are dealt with quickly and painlessly.

So, would it be better to vote in someone from the Democratic Alliance (DA) or African National Congress (ANC) because of the power in numbers and the fact that one of these two parties is likely to run the major cities? But then what happens if your ward counsellor is DA in an ANC municipality – would she or he be restricted?

Perhaps we should be voting for that independent guy who looks like he’s so committed to the right kind of change, he’s put up his Barmitzvah money to stand in this election. But maybe as a lone soldier in the opposing army, he’s not likely to have much persuasion power. How about that party that wants Cape Town to be its own country?

I don’t have the answers for you, although we have tried to give you as much information as we possibly can. We have introduced you to the Jewish people standing for election (page 10 to 11), written about a proposed mayor (page 12), got experts to write for you (page 6), and put on webinars to educate us all.

Now it’s up to you. Make your vote count because your vote matters. It could be your vote that tips the scales towards one particular person or even a whole party. So, don’t underestimate your power.

I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone how many people died in this country so that every citizen has that right to vote. It’s a precious right that we need to use so that the government does what it needs to do for us.

I was shocked when a close friend of mine, who has always been very politically involved, told me he was going to the coast this weekend to be back in a couple of weeks. I asked him about voting, and he sheepishly said that he was hoping nobody would ask because he can’t vote at the coast.

My sense is when people who criticise the authorities don’t vote, they relinquish the right to that criticism.

We all make our choices, but I implore you to use that precious right and vote so that we can ensure that the people looking after our day to day needs are going to do a better job than they have been doing.

This brings me to one of the key issues that has been used in campaigning for votes, namely whether or not to vaccinate.

As someone whose whole family is now vaccinated and proudly so, I cannot believe that people are still vacillating over this. I’m astonished at how many people are still refusing to be vaccinated, citing nonsense they have picked up on social media as proof positive that they shouldn’t vaccinate.

As we have a less stressful hiatus between waves and get to experience just a little more freedom, I can tell you I don’t want that freedom taken from me again.

And it’s clear that the more people are vaccinated, the less chance of another serious wave that will put us back under lockdown. Let’s vaccinate for freedom.

I must say, I was pleased to hear that Julius Malema agreed with me, getting vaccinated because he “believes in science”. He even called on his supporters to get vaccinated. Then he went on to cite that because all the Jews were being vaccinated, he knew it was safe because “they” put a high price on life (page 5).

At first, like Howard Feldman (page 14), I had to think about what he said and I wondered if it was meant to be an insult. However, to me, it was clearly a veiled compliment – if that’s a possibility coming from Malema – and is true. We do value life, and do everything possible to preserve it.

And although our experts didn’t think him saying this was kosher, I have to admit that after Israelis had vaccinated their children, it made me feel safe to vaccinate mine.

However, there have been many counsellors and party leaders around the country who have used their campaign to dissuade people from vaccinating. Frankly, I see this as an abuse of power, but I guess I have to allow people to make up their own minds.

Having said that, I was significantly irked this week by the lack of warning about potential threats to our children post-vaccine.

I was fortunate to be on Dr Sheri Fanaroff’s mailing list on 17 October, when she put out a piece about teens being vaccinated. In it, she warned that teens, especially boys, shouldn’t do strenuous exercise for up to a week after being vaccinated to safeguard them from the rare incidence of pericarditis or myocarditis.

So, I knew about it when my boys were vaccinated, but nobody told them or me when they were being vaccinated. And I wonder just how many people were made aware before their teens were vaccinated.

For this reason, I asked Dr Sheri to write the piece on page 5 to ensure we all know about it and can watch out for any signs.

I’m not telling you this because I think we should rethink vaccinating our kids. To the contrary, I just believe in taking every precaution to safeguard us all from any harm. And I believe forewarned is forearmed. A few days without sport won’t hurt anyone…

So, before you head out to the polling booths on Monday, make sure that you have done your research, using all we have given you and whatever else you can find to guide you to make your choice. That way, you too will be forearmed to choose the people who would best serve you, your suburb, and our community.

Power to your pencil!

Shabbat Shalom!

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