Rise of the orators

Politics. I thought I’d nev­er get back into this, hav­ing lost the will­ing­ness to under­stand their shout­ings, their fight­ings, this unbear­able divi­sion of our soci­ety in small­er and small­er parts. But here we go again, as it seems it has become unavoid­able late­ly unfor­tu­nate­ly. You might have noticed how it has changed in the last years, los­ing most of its mes­sages for those strong fig­ures, those talk­ers, those new ora­tors. As it seems, we’ll nev­er real­ly under­stand his­to­ry lessons while we’re bound to repeat the same mis­takes over and over, giv­ing up again our con­vic­tions, our ideas, for a per­son that is able to empow­er a crowd, to rise the angri­ness and play with the peo­ple struggles.

I seem to remem­ber a time, not so long ago, where pol­i­tics were an idea, a hope, some­thing that we’d look upon to for our future, to build some­thing. Yes they were humans, mak­ing mis­takes, falling into the same traps we all fall into, but at least they were try­ing to build some­thing greater than them. Then some­where along the road we lost this, this will­ing­ness to over­come our present to aim for a bet­ter future. In the last years, by a dic­ta­tor­ship of the major­i­ty, we let ora­tors take bit by bit the pow­er of our democ­ra­cies. And every time some­one tries to warn us, we’re bound to say that ”it’s not the same, you’re going to far”. But yes, it is the same, it has always been the same, since the dawn of democ­ra­cy. As democ­ra­cy in itself has the root of its destruc­tion. As we’re humans and imper­fects, we’re bound to fall to great speech­es, to those men and women that can direct­ly talk to our most pri­ma­ry feel­ings. Anger, fear, sad­ness, … those are the things they use against us.

Bit by bit, pol­i­tics has become a giant cir­cus, where the mes­sage doesn’t tell much but where what’s rel­e­vant is who says it and how. Marketing has embraced pol­i­tics, shap­ing our debates with the most ter­ri­fy­ing weapons we could think of to shape human minds. There’s not a sin­gle bit of project in their mes­sage, just crazy talks about how those ”oth­ers” are ”dan­ger­ous”, ”rapists”, ”thieves”, ”strange”, ”dif­fer­ent”. And every­day we’re falling more and more into this sadis­tic game.

In the United States, we let a ter­ri­ble man reach the high­est states of pow­er, in Turkey we’re giv­ing more and more pow­er to a man who has every­thing of a dic­ta­tor, in Belgium we let our pol­i­tics divide us and block our coun­try about use­less things, in Hungary and Chechnya we let them build new camps to pro­tect us from those ”oth­ers”, in the United Kingdoms we let pop­ulists break one of the most beau­ti­ful idea our democ­ra­cies had ever made, in France the cur­rent race for pres­i­den­cy has become a night­mare on every side with almost each can­di­date play­ing on fear, angri­ness, avoid­ing the uneasy ques­tions, and almost all of them try­ing to con­trol our medias, our infor­ma­tion, the fifth pil­lar of our power.

People have nev­er been this pas­sion­ate about pol­i­tics on the oth­er side. But for the wrong rea­sons. We’re dwelling into a war of feel­ings, not ideas any­more, refus­ing to hear the com­plains of the peo­ple who do not think like us, who dare to sup­port anoth­er can­di­date, anoth­er hope. As we met the ora­tors win the pow­er, we also let the most dem­a­gogues, the most enraged peo­ple steal every sin­gle top­ic of dis­cus­sion we can find. It has now became impos­si­ble to talk about racism, LGBT rights, for­eign pol­i­cy, health, or any­thing on each side. In a time where we’d des­per­ate­ly need mod­er­ate peo­ple to build a future we could all aim for, we let our soci­ety become a gigan­tic bat­tle­field of fanatics.

And each day, those fanat­ics are rein­forc­ing our cleav­ages, by push­ing away peo­ple who are not tru­ly against them, but aren’t just agree­ing with all their agen­da. By alien­at­ing those diverse opin­ions to fall into a black and white divide, we’re destroy­ing our democ­ra­cies and let­ting the pow­er into the hands of those Manichean ora­tors. We pushed away mod­er­ates from the scene and replaced them by per­form­ers. But per­form­ers, might they be black or white, aren’t will­ing to build a future. They’re will­ing to build up their pow­er, their ego, as it’s the exact thing that put them into this posi­tion. And every time we try to talk about them, we’re accused of strength­en­ing them, killing in itself the basic idea of a demo­c­ra­t­ic discussion.

We’re all prone to fail­ure, that our beau­ty and our curse, but still I hope this is not too late. Now I look to France, hop­ing that my pre­dic­tions won’t come true, that we won’t let fear win, but still. Still I hope to see mod­er­ates come back on the scene, dar­ing to explain to the com­mon peo­ple that the world isn’t black and white, dar­ing to chal­lenge peo­ple with com­plex ideas, with real projects encom­pass­ing all of our soci­ety, embrac­ing our dif­fer­ences. I hope to see mod­er­ates fight the fanat­ics from every side of the bat­tle and tell them that they do not have the right to con­fis­cate our soci­eties, to go on fur­ther in this divi­sion war we’re in it. Because our world is a col­or­ful rain­bow, and it’s in this diver­si­ty that we’ll be able to build some­thing greater than us.

Every sto­ry of tragedy has a sto­ry of heroïsm to go with it. For every Holocaust, there’s a Schindler
 — N.K. Jemisin

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Simon Vandereecken

Freelance UX Designer living in Brussels (Belgium), with a deep interest into philosophy, personal growth, self improvement, books, music, ... well in many things ! I use this website to write thoughts going through my head as well as ideas, observations and reading notes. Feel free to get in touch ;)