Floating Voter / Talking to the Walls

During these past few rainy days, the first slogans of the election campaign have begun to appear in public spaces - and we already have a reason to worry. It's not entirely clear what the walls are telling us, and so we must talk to the walls.

Kadima does not yet require outdoor advertising as it gets free publicity in the media. The headlines speak for or against it, so why invest if you can wield influence, for free?

The Likud, by contrast, urgently needs public exposure. Indeed, its immense signs cover the countryside. The party's main slogan is, "Kadima [literally 'onward'] to the '67 borders," and at first glance it's tough to tell whether this is a threat or a promise.

It isn't hard to guess the slogans that will come. Soon the advertisers shall recall thee, O Jerusalem, and Kadima and Labor will be accused of a hidden and malicious plan to divide our eternal capital.

The Likud looks and sounds like it hasn't been living here in the last few years, as has happened to Benjamin Netanyahu in the past. Perhaps the party hasn't noticed that most of the public is prepared to divide Jerusalem and give up its Arab neighborhoods at least - as the polls tell us. And if most of the other parties are blamed for the "division plan," then it's likely that there is no blame. How can you threaten the public with something that is considered appropriate and desirable?

The Likud and its public relations experts should be warned against taking too much from the forgotten past. They should also stay away from scarecrows, which even the birds no longer fear. We are standing at the gates of a new era, which will be redefined here as the era of collapsing scarecrows. Even if the Likud continues peddling its wares on the Tel Aviv-Haifa highway, that way its glory lies not.

And what does the Labor Party have to say? "Because the time has come." It has said this, but apparently the time has yet to come for it to explain the meaning of the time that has come. This slogan undoubtedly has a contemplative nature, almost a philosophical one, which apparently draws its inspiration from the Book of Ecclesiastes: Everything under the sun has its own time - a time to cry and a time to laugh. Labor should come down from the lofty heights above and tell us something substantial, complete and specific. We would like to understand you.

True, in the last few days the party's ambiguous slogan has become slightly clearer. It's no longer "Because the time has come," but "Because the time has come for a winning team." But this new version raises questions of its own: Which victory? Who has beaten whom? When exactly did this victory take place without our knowledge? Wouldn't it not have been better to use more modest, but more convincing, words? Nonetheless, it's best to conclude that the time has long since come to get rid of the time that has come.

Over the weekend, signs concerning the left wing joined the slogan gallery: "Leftists are disengaged," "Leftists are maniacs," "Leftists are bleeding hearts." The signs don't say who's behind them, and I have no idea. One can only guess that this is a backhanded advertising campaign and that in the next few days, it will become clear that it's actually leftists who are orchestrating it. But there's no need to rush to judgment until the final stroke.

The way the parties have begun their campaigns doesn't bode well for the way the campaigns will end, perhaps because even the best slogan is not capable of offering more than the slogan itself. This is what happens when the vessel is pretty much the same, with each party pulling out its own bells and whistles, which are set to go off during a televised confrontation. But the fundamental debate has yet to begin, and it's doubtful that it ever will.

We call on all the parties: Boring ones - you are repulsive. We want you to capture our interest! And to the public relations people, we say: Arise, arise, oh publicists, before we sink into a deep coma from which you will not manage to rouse us by the 28th day of March.