By nature, I am not a political person. I prefer everyone to get along and usually assume the best intentions in other people. I always try to see the other side of an argument. This might seem like a good thing, and in a private setting it is. Yet, it has also held me back in many work-related and financial situations and in certain personal endeavours. I have known this about myself since my teenage years, and as a consequence, I have never felt drawn to politics. The most political thing about me is being a vegetarian/aspiring vegan and writing for Gods and Radicals. Not much of an activist, right?
Yet, with the years and the direction the world seems to take, I feel politics creeping up on me. My country was generally governed by consensus when I grew up, but towards the end of the nineties restlessness and discontent took hold of the public discourse. This public discourse is a fickle, impatient sort of beast. It wants us to pick sides. I do not want to pick sides.
Take for instance the refugee crisis. I do believe we should help refugees, here and in Turkey for instance. I do not believe we should take everyone in. Not while there is no affordable housing for people that live here now, and no jobs either. Yet the public discourse oscillates between two positions: A warm welcome for refugees without any reservations, or a full refusal to asylum seekers. The discourse divides the public in racists and naive idealists, as if there is no middle ground. This is just one example of many heated, extremely polarised debates that are taking place here. And I refuse to choose.
Yet I struggle to hear a truly radical sound in all this nasty bickering. Original thinkers and even politicians are out there, but their soundbites are not so popular. Prophets never are. I think we are on the treshold of great changes. These changes might mean the end of our society as we know it or, I hope, a total renewal. One thing is certain: to continue on this road of a growth-based economy and short-term policy making will not be possible for much longer. And my society wears blinkers covering the left eye and the right eye, ever moving forward without seeing what falls by the wayside. I will not subscribe to left, right or centre. I just hope a more political person than me will stand up, be listened to and be voted into a position to make the necessary drastic, unpopular decisions. We need someone to carry us beyond left and right.