English Breakfast: What are you protesting for?

Protestierende Menschen
Quelle: https://pixabay.com/de/menge-vorführung-flagge-mann-märz-1294991/

Nowadays, political protest results in better election results for right wing parties and the voices of political protest. Often I hear people say that the current system and the current leaders are weak, corrupt and disconnected to the general public. But the question is, whether political protest is addressed the right way when political parties gain power and still, do not care a lot about what is really necessary for any country. After all, let’s not forget that they are part of the system that they are claiming to fight …

Simple answers for complex issues?!

Frustrated with the current politicians, people are in search for simple answers. They are looking for someone saying: „Look, it is not as difficult as it sounds and I know how to fix it.“ We voted for representatives in parliament or congress because we have not got the time to deal with details about any political matter. The problem is that we need some insight in order to make sound decisions when it comes to electing our representatives. And this is where we have a systemic problem: When gathering information about any topic, we often get manipulated by the media and the ones (usually right wing parties)  who profit from us not being as informed as we should. The rule of thumb is an old quote by André Gide that goes something like: „Trust those who search the truth and doubt the ones who found it!“ (translated from http://www.zitate-online.de/literaturzitate/allgemein/823/glaube-denen-die-die-wahrheit-suchen-und.html, 20.08.2016)

Trump, Farage, LePen, Hofer, ….

They all have one thing in common: Simple answers to complex issues. But the truth of the matter is: There are not simple answers to complex political issues. Never! Anyone believing that is simply not willing to accept reality. But the far more dangerous thing is that the politicians mentioned above are connecting political protest to pure racism and antidemocratic beliefs. And that is exactly the trap we are falling into when voting for them. Granted, there are a lot things going in the wrong direction in the current system. But do we need to vote for these people when they threaten basic democratic rules by using racism and fascist theories? As the ones keeping the democratic system in check by voting our representatives, we are obliged to look at the bigger picture.

Protesting for what?

When someone tells me, he or she is protesting against the current system and therefore elects parties or representatives from the right corner of the political spectrum, I reply with one basic question: 


What are you protesting for? Not -against-, but -for-! There are people living in foreign countries risking their lives for the opportunity to voice political claims. If someone puts a gun to your head: What is it, that you want to protest for?“ Usually they cannot give a straight answer and that is when I know, these people cannot be taken seriously. But then again: They have the right to vote - that is what we call a democracy. Still, their judgement is going to be as unreflected as it can get.

We need to act responsible!

Bearing these facts in mind, there is only one answer: We need to act responsible. We need to gather facts before voting and think a few seconds about the direction we would like our democracy to go. To sum it up: we need to act as responsible members of a society and need to consider the bigger picture, not the one that is limited by the doors of our house. Being a responsible member of the society means (at least) trying to think about all members. That’s a healthy democracy and that is what Trump, Farage, LePen and Hofer are trying to undermine …