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Who voted for them? Who voted for them?
by Thanos Kalamidas
2022-09-24 07:19:28
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Last week I wrote: where were we when populism won, and while one of the answers I suggested was: on our sofas eating our pizza; watching democracy murdered in our 52 inch ultra flat screens in between of the “Bachelorette” and the “Hollywood wives,” another question raised, who actually votes all those populist politicians and parties. Sadly part of the answer hides behind the… good old days.

The majority of the voters in Europe and USA nowadays are around their 50s or 60s, the post baby-boomers generation. Men and women who grew up during the ‘good’ times of disco, yuppies, Wall Street, fast profits, new cars and cool apartments. Don’t misunderstand me, even if they didn’t have money to play in the stock market, even if they couldn’t afford a new car and a cool apartment all these things were there around them. They were on the pages of the glossy magazines, television dramas and the newly found American style malls the size of small towns.

Again, don’t misread what I’m writing. The very same period unemployment reached in Europe new heights (thanks to Thatcherism), homeless people appeared in smaller cities outside of capitals, especially in USA, poverty increased while welfare started getting its first deep wounds. Things didn’t look so good but there was ...hope. Dolly Parton was singing ‘9 to 5’ about equality, avid Bowie was calling ‘Let’s dance’ and Phil Collins was pleading for ‘One more night’.

‘Cosby show’, ‘Cheers’, ‘Alf’ and the ‘Golden girls’ made us smile with the average life of average middle class American families despite colour and ...planet of origin and in the big screen, ‘ET’ and Indiana Jones and the Terminator insisted that despite all the darkness there is hope, there is light in the end of the tunnel.

Ronald Reagan, the lackey of McCarthyism, reborn global champion of democracy and freedom of speech, EU expanding to the south, the end of the Soviet Union and fall of the Berlin Wall; perestroika and glasnost become a wave of transparency that moves globally multiplying the sense of hope, of coming prosperity, peace, good times!

All an illusion. The real good times were for the same people who lived the 'good times' in 1960s, in 1950s, even in 1940s and 1920s, the 19th century and the 17th century; the few, the privilege, the entitled. But... but the rest had hope.

Then came the 21st century and the new century brought more unemployment, more economic crisis, more poverty, more hopeless and much less... hope. In addition, the 21st century also brought immigration and escalating fear, which in the second decade of the century turned into lethal viruses, hunger and worst of all, word war fear. What was left was – and I’m sorry to say – too little hope, a very small light in the end of a very dark and very long tunnel. To make things worse the leadership, political, religious, social started asking for sacrifices, sweat, blood and tears if we want to survive into a future that looks gloomier than the past. Fear has become the identity of the times we live.

And fear it is what feeds populism, where populists thrive. The ask people to remember the good old days but they never specify which good days and what made those days good, confusing illusion with half truths, reality with wishing lists, Hollywood with real life. They blame for anything evil everything that opposes their illusion, immigrants, democracy, socialism, Jews, gays, socialism, women’s’ equality, freedom of speech and the list is endless. And in the end, they demand to have everything they never owned. They call the people to grab by the pussy everything they never deserved. Tooling fear, they awake the worst animal instincts to the masses.

Then they lead them to the polling stations to... vote!

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