Managing the quagmire

All summer smelled of elections and ashes. No one was taken by surprise. And no one really expects anything new to emerge. No one thinks that the once-fascinating ballot can rock the boat or solve any of the outstanding problems. Across the nation’s beaches, coffee shops and backyards, election talk soon fizzles out. Those with no self-interest at stake, i.e. most people, find it easy to agree: Our political leaders are worn down and ineffective. Political cadres are the product of nepotism or the media. They seek a mandate without any grasp of reality or the concerns of the average voter. All they do is crave power and the privileges that come with it. Why have an election now and not in six months? Why them and not the others? Who is the most idle or unreliable? Who can withstand self-criticism? Who can come up with something new to say, something indicating that one is abreast of developments in our changing world? Hardly anyone really. The vote leaves most people (the disinterested majority, that is) cold. These people live in the open world of today, they work in a free market economy, they receive information and gain experience from outside, they are capable of comparing and drawing conclusions. As a result, they demand forward planning and efficiency, boldness and fresh ideas. Oh, and vision. We have come to near stagnation but we want to move on. We must acknowledge our responsibility and commitment. All it takes is seeing: seeing that the education and health system are a mess, that public administration is mired in corruption, that the market is hijacked by profiteers and cartels. By ducking self-criticism, our leaders are ducking renewal. Politics has been reduced to quagmire management. On the beach, in cafes and in backyards, election talk tends to fizzle out, leaving only a tart aftertaste.