09 June 2024

my bit for democracy

After several days, weeks (?) of heavy rain, we finally have a couple of good sunny hot days. Enough to go wandering about before sunset and dip into the various small local art festivals and open air concerts. I spent a few hours wandering about at the "Long Gallery Night" looking at art objects and nibbling the finger food, pretending I was actually flush enough to purchase anything, while R topped up on the free drinks.

The excitement of suburban living.

Yesterday, we received a big box of organic apricots directly from Analucia thanks to crowdfarming, one of the best ideas that have come into our lives.

Today are the European elections. A long time ago, decent people dreamed of introducing free, equal and secret suffrage in Europe. At the time and even today, plenty of opponents think this was a mad, even bad idea. But today on the continent whose history has been characterised by wars and more wars, where only 80 years ago, the allied forces landed on its beaches to set out and defeat the nazis, people living in 27 countries are now able to vote in unison for a common parliament.  I know that to some the EU is nothing but a large corrupt corporation only interested in setting silly and divisive rules.

Many people vote because they think it will create the world they want to see. I don't think that. Today, I voted against the ugly new fascists raising their heads. Because if you stay asleep in democracy you will wake up in dictatorship.

Human beings are good. I am convinced that we are constructed in such a way that we want to get along well with our fellow human beings. For some, the hardware is damaged. Through violence, abuse, neglect, mental illness or just because. And then the software crashes. In the normal population, around two per cent of all people are psychopaths, very few of whom are in prison. Many have a much bigger playground, they can become CEOs, US presidents or dictators in the Kremlin. And we can only handle them if we are not divided into bitsy little countries bitching about each other.

Democracy is not a finished product, not something that we have, but something of which we must see ourselves as a necessarily active part. Which is why the man is spending his day and late into the night volunteering at one of the voting centers. I sent him off with a big box of oatmeal cookies I baked late last night.

Other than that, I have finally managed to sand down the bit of the wooden floor by the patio door that badly needs revarnishing. I tried my best, my arms are shaking from the rattle of the sander but in some places, the worn out bits are too damaged and I should probably get a better tool or someone with more ellbow grease. Do I care? Not at all. 

The song for today. For more about its history, click here. In the last couple of weeks, the varied gangs of street musicians in our city have come together and wherever/whenever the neonazis put up their election campaign stands, they turned up to sing this song. I have no video from them, this one is from a somewhere in Italy.


ellen abbott said...

democracy is not one and done. it is a constant battle against those who would impose their personal political beliefs on the population at large, much like the religious fanatics, and all too often the two go hand in hand. over here they scream about sharia law while trying to impose their twisted christian law on us.

when we bought this house there was carpet on the hardwood floors which we took up and had them refinished. in the dining area there was linoleum tile over masonite over the hardwood floor. there are several spots that are deeply stained probably from repeated pet urine. I don't care. we prefer the hardwood floor, stains and all.

Colette said...

"Because if you stay asleep in democracy you will wake up in dictatorship." Oh yes, so very true.

Ms. Moon said...

You have a far more generous outlook on humans than I do. Maybe that's not what I mean to say. Right now in America, we have so many people who are absolutely hateful towards other races, members of the queer community, immigrants, women, and others whose lives are already incredibly difficult. And many of these hateful people are lawmakers who are making laws which endanger the health and wellbeing of many. And who is electing these lawmakers? People who believe exactly as they do. Are they all mentally ill? Are they all victims of abuse and violence? I cannot, for the life of me, understand where all of these people get their beliefs.
I am scared of where this is all heading. In fact, I am terrified.

Roderick Robinson said...

You are right, democracy is not a fixed concept; it has to be flexible enough to take on new (if worthwhile) ideas. And there's the rub. Unthinking people tend to dislike change. Even worse, unthinking people are given to looking back in time and believing they see a Golden Era which can be re-created. Most Golden Eras are figments of their imagination. Those that did exist were usually localised and dependent on the suffering of others elsewhere in the world. One of the UK's Golden Eras was the product of near slave labour in what were called The Colonies.

As to the rise of Fascism (Should it be given an initial cap?) I worry about the possible inevitability of cycles in human behaviour. One day-to-day example are the fluctuations in the stock market (Yes, I know you disapprove; but its variations are an exemplar) which seem to have their own inexplicable rationale. Extrapolated to the inter-related behaviour of neighbouring states might the rise of the right wing be an inescapable result - not fully understood - of several decades of democracy? Superficially dependent on different standards of living on different sides of frontiers?

"a new tool". You should care, though it may require a convulsion in your way of thinking. Consider your comfort and the speed with which uninteresting drudgery may be minimised. Give it numerals: a form of mental accountancy if you like. The key to effective DIY is to ask this question: is there a more effective, more dedicated device for doing this work? Then acquiring it. Drudgery, by definition, is unprofitable

Roderick Robinson said...

On a positive note, I heartily approve of what the street singers are doing. Most of us think we know something about music. In fact its wider effects are often beyond comprehension. We like a tune? Why? One of the great unanswered questions.

Sabine said...

RR, when I was ten years old, I started German secondary school. The school I was sent to by my father was founded in the 16th century and to this day, fortunately and unfortunately, concentrates on a a so-called humanistic education based on the classics, ie Latin and ancient Greek language and philosophy. An early life lesson was the realisation that the history of these civilisations has been a steady procession of democracy followed by tyranny followed by a revolution followed by democracy and so on. Nothing has changed apparently.