World Politics: Today’s Most Frustrating Topic
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I’m sure you have noticed, politics is not a popular topic these days. Rest assured, this did not start yesterday. This did not start with Donald Trump or Barack Obama, nor did it only happen in the United States.
Over the last few years, current political powers have been heavily criticized, which triggered some really passionate discussions among friends and family all around the world. For as long as I can remember, politics have always been an important and common interest to discuss. Personally, I remember being a child and listening to those never-ending discussions during the family dinners. Unfortunately, the last time I had a dinner with friends and family, I noticed an immense frustration in the people surrounding me, they don’t even want to talk about it. A discussion seems to lead to more frustration, and people just don’t believe in politics anymore nor trust their elected officials.
Indeed, people are less inclined to vote because they don’t feel represented by the “adequate candidate.” It seems the old way of doing politics is not working anymore. What is even sadder is the way this issue reveals itself with heavy consequences around the world. For instance, the low participation rate during major elections.
Another example is in Great Britain, with the referendum to leave the European Union and the surprising result. Polls were giving an advantage to the “No” to leave Europe, meaning that it didn’t take into consideration the fact that some new voters might vote yes to Brexit. According to the Bloomberg View, a net increase of 2.8 million voters in the Brexit turnout “was entirely to the benefit of the Brexiters.” If a lot of younger voters that didn’t think it was possible to leave UE had been more motivated into the voting process, then the result would have been different. Many regret not voting because the polls were saying that they would stay in the EU. In a Business Insider UK article, “just less than 28% of registered Brits did not vote in the June EU referendum.”
In the United States, could we say the same regarding the public’s surprise on Trump’s victory? Hillary’s victory was a sure thing in the polls, and though she lost to Donald Trump, the popular vote still went to her. So the issue might be a bit different, but what’s surprising is the high percentage of non-voters. According to the Washington Post, 41.9 percent of eligible Americans didn’t vote and are mad at the result. However, what could they have done if voting for Hillary was not even an option for them?
As a woman, even more, I proudly fulfill my right to vote every single election. I feel that since our ancestors fought for this right a century ago, all women owe it them to go and vote. I have to be honest though, this has not been easy and it still won’t be easy for the next elections – coming up in France, my home country, by the end of April.
Like everyone else, I feel fed up with unsustainable promises and good talks, even bad talks for that matter. Sometimes I can understand the people that are ready to go to extremes in order to show their frustration. What saddens me even more, is wondering how they came to these extremes? Isn’t it a politician’s job to find out why people are so unhappy with them and look for answers? Nowadays it just feels as if they are either deaf or can’t find the words to reach out to people the way they should.
The political landscape as we know it is changing. In France, recent studies show that people historically voting extreme left, are now voting extreme right. This is utterly surprising, but it shows that not only fascism is responsible for high scores of the extreme right.
I never believed that all of the sudden a majority of people around the world could become racist or fascist. Unfortunately, yes racism is still a reality today, but it is not what motivates half a population to vote for a candidate. They are fearful and need reassurance from leaders, ones that would tell them how to believe in the future. Extreme Right Parties like “Frond National” in France know too well how to play with people’s fear, as do all parties using our fears to their advantage. They just use manipulation by telling us what to fear instead of telling us what to hope for. Fear has too much power over our rational thinking.
However, Austria has surprised everyone. Last October, in a country that has had an evolution towards the extreme right these past years, the 72-year- old independent candidate with the green party won the Presidency. This change contradicts our previous observations, but it might be a way to be hopeful, it depends on where you stand politically.
Politics should find a way to overcome our doubts and problems that the main historical parties’ representatives around the world can’t seem to solve right now. Is politics in a changing era because of that? Are the new successful politicians closer to the people? We just have to be careful in an era where good communication is everything. Be aware, the words whispered to our ears could just be lead by an individual’s pursuit of success and power. A new politician or new politics does not necessarily mean better, so be hopeful but be careful!