Sunday, September 09, 2018

Election day in Sweden

Today is election day in Sweden. It will be very interesting to see the results in the end, especially on a local level since that use to be where the "upsets" are happening. However, some would argue that the upset is that the Swedish Democrat* Party is looking to become the second largest party in the country. When asked what they are I tend to wiggle between "neo-nazi light" and "more organized Trumpsters" and have their party equivalents in Lega Nord, UKIP, Front National (if you are familiar with European parties) or simply the "we aren't happy as it is now and this is protest voting".
These parties are not from Left to Right - very confusing! Line at 4% is threshold to get into Parliament.Light red=Social Democrats, Dark red=Left Party,  Dark Blue='Moderates' (Traditional right wing), Yellow=Swedish Democrats

Sometimes the best way to sort out your thoughts is to discuss with someone else and then get help when you have locked yourself into a fallacy of reasoning. It's also a huge deal in what I do everyday, to "see people" and "let them feel seen and heard". Regardless of what you might believe, I would state that I meet a lot of people who feel like people are making decisions over their head, they don't feel heard and they don't feel recognized. I guess these parties (the right wing ones I mentioned) all have that in common. They also have in common that they are predominantly male, both in leadership and in followers.

Anyway, trying to keep focus here.

My main point of this blog post was to express why I feel that the political discussion would benefit to going back to basic. At lot today is spent on calling out lies, getting caught in specific details yet failing to communicate the bigger picture and how much easier it would be if teasing out these bigger picture (vision or ideologies) that lie behind these specific questions that tend to create clic bait and shouting matches.

For example; "Every person has the same human rights", regardless of birth country of origin, race, economic background, education and religion. Most people say that they agree on the statement, and then come the exclusions. Some people don't agree even from the start since they believe some of these more fundamental than the others (usually based on race or religion, but sometimes nationality as well).

There's also the concept of "human rights" indicating being worth and valued, and include "obligations". And that's when moving into the territory of "who do I feel should be part of my society" and "what is the obligation of each person to be part of the society".

For me as a person who grew up in a political family, where ideologies and philosophy were discussed at the dinner table, these things make it easier for me to tease out where my issues lie and how I view the world (and how I would structure my utopia). I completely understand that this is a privileged point of view, and that for most part this is way too slow to communicate politics unless discussing with others who share the background. However, I think this is the only way forward - to communicate and lead with a vision of how society would look if these people win.

Maybe I've become more sensitive to this living as an immigrant in the USA in this current climate? Maybe I've been told too many times that "you're not a real immigrant, you speak English" to not  question "who's a real immigrant"?
Maybe I've been met with complete lack of understanding when answering "no, I'm not a US citizen", because why wouldn't I be one since this is the greatest country on earth?
Maybe I've encountered the facts of moving across the world and knowing that there is a possibility that my Swedish citizenship would be taken away if the political majority in my birth country shifts too much towards the right?
Maybe, just maybe, is it that I would love to start with sorting out what we have in common and move from there rather than starting with the exclusion points?

And the final thought, that I will need to think more about - the biggest challenge today is what we who like democracy, like the idea that everyone should be allowed to think for themselves and have their own opinion - how can we guard the fundamental right to be free while a growing portion of people want nothing less than to take that away since it doesn't fit with their ultimate view of a perfect society?

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." as written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in a biography of Voltaire. But when the person whom you would die for want nothing else but to remove that right for you, how do we safe guard our society to keep that from happening?

*sometimes it's good to point out that both North Korea and China to name a few use "Democratic" in their official name - using the word doesn't mean "democracy=everyone has equal right".