I was walking down a park pathway. To my right was a plaza, overlooking the city. Brussels stood there, in the distance, as a steel and glass monument to Democracy and Freedom. The city housed the EU parliament, core of the world’s biggest trade block. She was the phoenix that had risen from the ashes of last century’s conflicts, and I am a cog in that machine. Men and women like me come here, dressed in Italian suits and silk dresses, with ideals of peace and prosperity, in order to make life better for those who live within our borders. Recently however, our machine has gone rusty. Some of the cogs that have been added to the machine in recent elections bring with them ideals that threw Europe into a fiery battle with itself 75 years ago.
Politicians now days focus more on themselves and each other and less on those who elected them. Politics no longer deserve the title “the people’s business”. It’s become a game played by the selfish and ruthless, the only true idealists being on the far ends of the political spectrum.
I breathed a sigh of despair as I kept walking down the path. Petals were raining down from the trees, drinking in sunlight like a sponge, making their surface vibrant with colour. Feeling the heat of the sun on my shoulders, I took off my tie and undid the top button of my shirt in an attempt to cool down. Blazer still on my back despite the sun, I kept walking, my mind absorbed in thoughts of world politics. Tensions were rising everywhere on this world of ours. There was plenty to think about.
China and Japan were arguing over claims within the China Sea. Russia and the US were once again enemies because of Ukraine. The never-ending Palestino-Israeli conflict still had NorthAfrica holding its breath, even in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Syria was still a battleground. French involvement in Africa’s wars only worsened the situation in the area. And, as if the crisis wasn’t enough to weaken the EU, she now had extreme right populists and neo-Nazis within her parliament. The dreams of those who created this institution were coming apart, and we are powerless to stop the engines, to turn the ship around before it hits the iceberg. The ones holding the stern, the people, have lost interest in the very ship they’re sailing.
I leaned over the plaza, elbows resting on the guardrail. The city was there, before me.
What would I say if the souls of Europe’s founding fathers came to me, asking why mobs of angry people were walking the streets, shouting the virtues of fascist ideals through loudspeakers? How would I justify the widening gap between rich and poor? How do I explain the mass distrust in classical parties that allowed the rise of extremists? What do I answer when they ask if I felt good about the state of the world, knowing that I had a part in its shaping?
How do they react when I say “We gave it everything we had, but it wasn’t enough”?
I slammed my right fist on top of the guard rail and spat a curse. After a moment I checked my watch. The debates would resume in half an hour. I needed to prepare myself to face new foes in the battle of words, foes that hadn’t spoken this significantly since 1933.
The inner monologue of my fictional MP alter ego while on lunch break. For readers in America that haven’t being paying attention to the situation here (I don’t blame you. You guys have enough to deal with on your end of the Atlantic (like Harrier jets falling on houses!!)), it’s pretty bad. The recent EU elections saw a major rise in seat occupied by extreme-right parties. The neo-Nazi party “Golden Dawn” got three of Greece’s 21 seats in parliament. Here in France, the extreme right “Front Nationale” actually came first in the elections and took over 24 of our nation’s 74 seats. Abstentions levels were ridiculous too. In France, 6/10 people who could vote simply didn’t (which actually allowed the extremes to gain so much ground in the first place). Our socialist president is widely seen as incompetent and the centre right opposition party seems like it wants to beat the record for “most corruption scandals in a year”. One journalists put it nicely by saying this: The government are incompetent, the opposition are crooks, and France’s third largest party is made up of racists.
Feedback is always appreciated. Thank you for your time.