This post has been a while coming. I needed to process, to sift through my thoughts and the goings-on around me.
But this morning I came face-to-face with something that horrified me and shocked me to the bone. Hours later (after Mother’s Day lunch), I’m still seething to my core. I feel like screaming with rage, punching the wall, crying foul and rallying the troops. This is what I saw as I was being driven to hospital for some blood tests.
It literally made my blood boil. How dare a political party belittle women like this? How dare a political party imply that a woman standing up to be counted is somehow a negative thing? How dare a political party reinforce the belief that a man who allows a woman to be strong is necessarily himself weak?
This is Trumpian politics at its best and worst.
How on earth has our country arrived at this point?!
Oh, here’s how.
Start off with a scramble for independence in the 60s. Follow this with the rule of a socialist party (the Malta Labour Party) that started out with the best of intentions and ended up, several years down the line, as an ipso facto dictatorship. Then comes a fresh breath of air in the guise of a Christian democratic party (the Nationalist Party), leave it in power for too long and it too turns sour, caving in to the business elite and kick-starting the steady decline of our environment. And finally, herald a new beginning with a fresh young face, slick marketing strategies, and a thirst for something new.
For make no mistake – every single one in this line-up above is responsible for the situation we are in now. They have each, progressively, eaten away at the tenants of democracy and left us with the mess we are in.
We may be one of the few countries to have had a bloodless path to independence, but perhaps it was not without its victims, after all.
Back in the 80s, I still clearly remember my father parking his car right up against our front door, climbing out of the window and through the door so as to make it impossible for anyone to even approach our front door. I don’t blame him, he wasn’t being overly cautious. As a 12-year-old back then, I myself had personally answered the phone to be told “ser noqtluhom (we’re going to kill them [your parents]) followed by an abrupt hang up.
I have fresh in mind the absolute disgust I felt when certain government ministers in the early 2000s rode rough-shod over everyone else, caring pretty little about the man in the street, s/he who had it harder in life, who wasn’t driving Audis, or flying on private planes to see Man Utd play.
I felt absolute disbelief when later on the socialist party declared itself against the EU – yes, if you’re foreign, you read right, that’s the SOCIALIST party.
I found myself disgusted by the Christian Democrat party’s staunch defense of hunters (the one thing they seem to agree upon with the Socialists, ironically!), their refusal to introduce divorce, and their terrible stand on gay rights.
I also abhor the stand both the Labour and the Nationalists have taken vis-à-vis immigration, both playing to populism instead of standing up for the values they both purport to hold.
Most of all, I am terribly disappointed in the Green party (Alternattiva Demokratika) which has done nothing throughout these decades to really have a fighting chance at finally making it to Parliament and whose current leader has shown diva-like tendencies of the worst sort (though he is in great company!).
So clearly, the blame lies fairly and squarely on everyone’s shoulders.
And then, the dice just keeps rolling.
The Nationalist Party add a misogynistic racist to their list (WTF?!) and the Labour Party issue this disgusting billboard taking us back to the Middle Ages.
And now, today, I open the paper and read an article penned by an ex-school mate of mine referring back to our school days. I found it hard to reconcile the things she recalled; so hard, I checked in with some other ex-school mates to see if perhaps I was having some mighty lapsus.
But no, none of them recalled this sweet (of the edible type) dilemma she referred to. And we all seemed to remember that the girls who left our school for Sandhurst were actually proud to be doing so and we were the ones actually ‘looked down upon’ and considered ‘stupid’ to not be following in their footsteps (rather than the other way around as she seems to infer).
But of course history can be subjective, I suppose, and after all we were only children back then so perhaps the way we experienced things was, in fact, different.
And yet, it was what wasn’t in her article that shocked me the most. In rightly saying that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff and let it distract us from the real issues, somehow, good governance and corruption don’t make it onto her list of the big stuff.
They are, actually, the underpinnings of any democratic society, they are the foundations, the corner stones, without them we may as well all go home as rule of law is thrown out of the window. We will be, make no mistake, one step away from anarchy and/or tyranny.
And this is where we are at.
Because, again, make no mistake, there is LITERALLY no political party at the moment that I am happy to vote for. I’m appalled by this. I am saddened. I am in disbelief that a race (the human race) that can come so far in so many fields, is so very, very bad at doing the most important thing of all, governing well.
There was a solution to this predicament we are in. And had it been taken, the message would have been oh so very different. It would have been a message of transparency, of seriousness, of loyalty to the electorate, of clarity, of responsibility, of good governance.
If only, all those months ago, people were asked to resign from their positions of power for the good of the COUNTRY. If only. Then the message would have been one, and it would have been strong – we the government are here to serve you the people and when we are no longer doing that then we are no longer worthy of being your government.
Then faith would have been restored, then people would really have thought that a new style of doing politics was happening. Malta could have been a beacon of light to the rest of the world.
In the absence of this, there really is no choice here. And I am angry about this, I’m actually hopping mad. Because I WANT a choice, I NEED a choice.
And yet, here we are, witnessing the demise of democracy.
This is an ideological war; this is a battle to protect the most sacrosanct value of all, the one without which there can be nothing else.
All the good that may have been done (particularly in the civil rights field) is not enough to sustain this train-wreck. If the foundations are weak, we cannot build, because even that one (or two, or three) strong pillar, will, eventually, fall.
And today’s billboard just drove the point home for me.
How dare a political party debase me and with me 50% of the world’s population to score some cheap points? How dare you? How dare you?
Following some feedback I received, directly and indirectly, I thought I should make the following clear (I thought I was clear, but apparently not to all). By saying that I feel there is no choice, this does not mean I will not be making a choice. Although others may choose to abstain, this is something I have never done and have no intention of starting to do so now. I believe in the process, it is the only process available to me thus far and I choose to engage in it.
My statement, rather, refers to the fact that I feel this is a forced choice, and I would so much rather have a real choice, one where I feel that I am fully committing to my vote, with all the package it entails. This, for me, is not the case here.
Rather, I am being pushed to choose because on one side of the spectrum, as I see it, is a group of people who see it fit not only to attack the very foundations of democracy, but to continue to defend themselves even when challenged, internationally, and, worse of all, to work hard at pulling the wool over the eyes of their unsuspecting loyal followers. Because while I’m sure some aren’t unsuspecting and have clear agendas of their own, I truly believe that the majority here are simply not used to critical thinking and therefore, choose to believe despite the evidence to the contrary.
So again, there is a choice, of course there is, just not one made serenely.