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DragonSpark speakeasy 165 – Park Politics

09 Jun

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.


……….?………………!……………:/………………………………………#&$@……………//HTTP/FREEDOM………………..

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.

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18 Comments

Posted by on 9 June 2014 in Dragonspark, Speakeasy

 

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18 responses to “DragonSpark speakeasy 165 – Park Politics

  1. imab00kworm

    9 June 2014 at 11:46

    This is one of those moments I’m not proud to be French :/
    And I could have been English too but no. Just French. *sarcastic yay*

     
  2. jannatwrites

    11 June 2014 at 07:25

    I’m a bit isolated to world events these days because being “in the know” caused me too much anxiety! The politics here in the US are quite depressing as well. I was shocked/disappointed at some of the racist comments I’ve read about Obama. Silly me, I thought we’d grown as a country. The goings on across the world in politics should be a wake-up call for voters: apathy is dangerous.

     
    • DragonSpark

      11 June 2014 at 10:58

      I don’t know if apathy by itself is truly all that dangerous. In a Democracy, people have the right not to get involved in the affairs of their country. Many people feel they do not have the information to make the right decision, so they choose to abstain. Many feel that politics, even if it does shape the country, isn’t a part of society in which they are willing to dedicate time and, in a very demanding and time consuming capitalist economy, it’s understandable. However, apathy becomes dangerous, I think, when it comes from a sheer rejection of politics, rather than lack of interest in the subject, and when this rejection allows the rise of political parties that exploit misunderstanding in between people and contempt of difference, while flattering their supporters with slogans of national pride. In a time of crisis, when choosing a scapegoat for the nation’s problems like mass unemployment, loss of international influence and stalling economy, this becomes especially true.

      That is EXACTLY what is going on in France right now and, to a certain extent, all over the European Union. The racist comments against Obama that you mentioned that this phenomenon has learned how to swim, and that it can travel fast. It is, at the same time, the cause and the consequence of the various conflicts around the world.

      So let’s not repeat the errors of last century in this one. Thank you for reading Janna. I hope my skeptical analysis turned into fiction is wrong.
      P.S.: Is there a word limit on comments too?

       
      • imab00kworm

        11 June 2014 at 11:03

        No there is no word limit for comments. (Also btw for the moment I have no phone 😦 )

         
  3. Suzanne

    11 June 2014 at 19:14

    This is such a great, thoughtful response to the prompts. There is so much apathy in the democratic nations of this planet it’s scary. But as long as there are people who do care, and do pay attention, and do vote, I think there’s still hope.

     
    • DragonSpark

      11 June 2014 at 19:27

      Thank you, Suzanne. I’m glad it struck home with you. As I said in my response to Janna’s comment, apathy probably isn’t the core of recent mass destrust of classical politics, rather it’s part, I think, of a deeper, more disturbing phenomenon, one that I tried to explore in this post.
      Thank you foryour time. Knowing you keep a watchful eye over the Speakeasy makes this little corner of the internet all the more credible and prone to address topics like this.

       
  4. thewizardsword

    12 June 2014 at 11:46

    Insightful and well-written. Interesting stuff!

     
    • DragonSpark

      12 June 2014 at 14:07

      Tank you for your time. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Is “Enjoy” the right word?

       
  5. Silverleaf

    12 June 2014 at 17:49

    Having lived in Ireland for 5 years (long ago now) where I completed an MA in EU Studies, I’ve always got a ear tuned to European news. You captured my own despair and concerns in a clear and immediate way. I felt like I was standing there, leaning over the city with you. Here in Canada, we have our own, less-publicized racism issues and I was just saying to my son this morning that in this day and age, the world should be moving forward, not backward. And yet, it seems to be a recurring pattern we just can’t break from for too long.

     
    • DragonSpark

      13 June 2014 at 09:37

      On the whole idea of a “cycle of corruption”: I had a talk/debate with a friend on the topic and he raised an interesting point. He argued that power was fundementaly bad, and will corrupt otherwise “good” people. He thought that the “cycle” was just a lapse of time during which people rose to power, to form a class of ruling elites. After this class is formed, a major event happens (usualy a major conflict) that shuffles the cards until another class of elites forms. I disagreed with him, because people all over the world use their power and influence to improve the lives of others in a partialy selfless way. Not only that, but worldwide conflicts are also caused by hatred towards differences, political tensions, ressources, religious fanatisism, ethnical conflicts etc…
      However, even if I don’t believe in that theory, I can’t deny his principle can be applied to modern politics.

      So what do you guys think? Are we really stuck in a vicious circle of conflict? Or is there hope for global peace?

       
      • Silverleaf

        13 June 2014 at 14:03

        I agree that power is fundamentally bad, or maybe damning. All those good people doing selfless acts generally aren’t in power. Perhaps if they were, they too would be corrupted by it. And maybe some in power aren’t corrupted but their priorities change as their responsibility grows and they can no longer only do good or take care of the underdog. Plus of course, they need votes in the next election.
        I’m not sure that the cycle is the lull while they gather their forces but maybe it is the time it takes for the current age to forget the lessons of the past, make the same mistakes and wait for the all-too-familiar effects to take hold.
        Finally, I agree with you that hatred and fear of difference drives much of it – but I think that relates back to power, a fear of losing it. If someone is different you can use that to sow fear in order to secure the people’s reliance on you for protection.
        I hate to be pessimistic but I don’t think this bodes well for global peace. I think we get bright sparks of the way things should be from the everyday, not from governments.
        Too negative!? 🙂

         
  6. Patricia Rivera

    12 June 2014 at 19:23

    So descriptive, I was right there able to visualize with your words. Great writing.

     
    • DragonSpark

      13 June 2014 at 09:38

      Thank you for the praise and thank you for your time. This is the first time I go or the whole “inner monologue” aproach and I think it only worked because I’m rather passionate about this topic.

       
  7. Meg

    12 June 2014 at 22:31

    Oh, this makes me so sad…I always count on you Europeans to be the model of reason! I have similar internal dialogue with politics in the U.S., although I’m not in a position to do anything. My point being: you’ve captured the angst so well, especially that weighty sense of responsibility to forefathers.

     
    • DragonSpark

      13 June 2014 at 09:44

      Thank you for the praise, even though making you sad wasn’t exactly my original goal, or even something to be proud of… I don’t know if out here in the E.U. we should be considered a “model of reason”. Our culture is very similar to yours, and thus, has similar….. flaws?
      I’m glad you thought the angst of my alter ego was well captured, as I’m rathr new at manipulating complex emotions like that.
      Thank you for reading. Hope to see you around here soon.

       
  8. Kathy Combs (@Kathy29156)

    13 June 2014 at 02:29

    Great story! I was drawn in from the first. Nice job.

     
    • DragonSpark

      13 June 2014 at 09:45

      Thank you, the praise is much apreciated.

       

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