31/01/2021

The sandstorm

3 min
The sandstorm
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Populism, which easily becomes a catchy euphemism for fascism, spreads like a virus with every public lie and every anti-political gesture. With every victory of cynicism, with every deception of the electorate and with every "they are all the same" repeated without thinking, we lose the opportunity to transform the future and build a country worth living in for our children. That is why the opportunity to vote is an extraordinary responsibility in any circumstance, and if not ask our grandparents, who put their necks on the line so that we, who are well fed, drag our feet to the polling stations.

Finally, the elections will be held on February 14 and they come in the midst of an invisible sandstorm, a pandemic that destroys everything, both health and the economy, and that confuses and threatens confidence in the democratic system, which is clearly incapable of providing magical solutions to complex problems.

In this environment of uncertainty, of mental fatigue, of the desperation of so many people in the face of the ravages of illness and of an unprecedented deterioration of the economy, it is time to vindicate politics, good politics, and to denounce its enemies more than ever. Those who destroy it from within and those who despise and ignore it from outside. It is legitimate to ask what good is politics when it does not improve the lives of citizens and becomes a television set, but we must also remember what the alternative to the many imperfections of democracy is.

Managing the pandemic

Covid has its own sinisterly effective logic that always forces us to run after its destructive capacity. Hundreds of uncontrollable factors intervene in the evolution of a pandemic, but there is a political management with associated values and long-term consequences. The sinister reality forces us to think about the costs of the times we are living in terms of number of deaths and GDP points, and from the balance to avoid one or the other come the decisions governments take around the world.

The public policies that are so often scorned condition our lives, and what is certain is that we citizens do not have transparent information about their objectives or about whether they are sufficiently based on evidence and knowledge.

Therefore, at this key moment, citizens should demand to know in a transparent way how decisions are being taken, what their objectives are, and assess the consequences and long-term impact. From the point of view of health, economy, labour, environment, politics, society, ethics, technology, and individual freedom and privacy. All these areas are impacted by the decisions of those to whom we entrust part of our future and who manage the taxes we pay.

The consequences of the pandemic and the associated decisions in the field of education must be of priority concern to us. We are looking at almost two school years which for many children and young people have not been an opportunity to enjoy the joy of knowledge, but a source of isolation and disappointment for the older ones and of uncertainty and mistrust for the younger ones. The situation is being saved thanks to the teachers and to having the centres open, at least partially, but the gap in access to knowledge and digitalisation may be widening in societies like ours, which are already suffering from growing inequality.

Disinformation

In politics, trust is also based on transparency, but we live immersed in huge amounts of disinformation. This is the responsibility of the media and of politics, seduced in both fields by the short term and the spectacle. An evil fed by laziness and precariousness in the media and by bad governance, fear, and short-term bets in politics.

Disinformation brings us, for example, to hear the example of the management of the pandemic in the Community of Madrid, a territory that unfortunately records the highest number of deaths in the State. Public health experts agree that there is a real correlation between mortality and citizen mobility, but many media in Madrid show the management of the Community of Madrid as a success. This is no time for triumphalism, and even less so with a virus that is constantly overflowing us and with an economy that is shaking, but that is precisely why it is so important to know the public policies that each party defends. Shall we vote?

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