Up-to-Date Internet World Stats here

czwartek, lipca 07, 2005

Jaded For free: Kaczyñski - What Does Brussels have to do with Poland?

Jaded For free: Kaczyñski - What Does Brussels have to do with Poland?

Jaded for free
By Jordan Seidel

For the past 2 weeks we have run a Poll asking our PolBloggers "If a presidential election were held today, would you vote for Lech Kaczyñski?" A decisive majority of participants (over 80%) indicated that they would not vote for Kaczyñski, while only 6% voted 'yes.' Another 6% indicated that they would vote for Kaczyñski because he "represents the least of evils." Based on my private conversations with people on this issue, which is rather pressing since this is an election year in Poland, the result was predictable. Living in Warsaw, and unable to speak with most Poles (language barrier), I can say that most of the Poles I do speak with (in English) are fairly liberal-leaning. Most of them were disgusted by Mayor Kaczyñski's banning of the Gay Pride Parade last month -- in defiance, it took place anyway (even though none of these liberal folks actually attended the parade themselves). I read a recent interview with the Major and he didn't sound half bad. He is against a flat tax, he wants a stronger Poland when it comes to Russia, he rejects the EU Constitution as currently written (so did France and Netherlands), he supports a more independent Poland within the EU integration plan, and he says he will stop corruption (which every Pole I meet complains about). So, why all the *extra-long faces?

I have no idea. I don't have the added input of reading how the local press presents Mayor Kaczyñski, but my impression is that in their heart of hearts most Poles would vote for him. These liberal Poles are actually quite the closet neo-cons -- they aren't so very liberal to the end, afterall, how many sincerely support a legal abortion law? How many of them can actually point to a family member who listens to Radio Maria? Or reflexively think that Pope John Paul II is beyond reproach (-- from non-Poles)? Accuracy aside, I think many of them would share Kaczyñski's pragmatism when it comes to integrating into the EU -- and at the very least most are highly ambivalent.

I was discussing this issue last night with a young Polish man who works at a gonzo multi-national bank here. His supposedly killer 'argument' against the Mayor was summed up in two words - 'homosexualists parade.' I suggested that if the Mayor would simply fix the walk-over bridge (which is hideous) in my neck of the Warsaw woods, near Promenada, I would enthusiasitically vote for him. "But what about his mentality?" bickered the young Pole. Just then I imagined a gay Pole and a straight Pole walking past each other as they were crossing the newly renovated Promenada bridge. This practical and shared concern unites people across divides. It seems that many of these younger, closet neo-cons have retained their grand-parent's social policy genes, and their parent's patriotism. That is, they don't necessarily despise government as an actor in pubic life, and most don't want to live permanently abroad (though many want to work or travel abroad). But they also picked up something new -- they are the ones who scoff at McDonalds. What really counts to Poles is what people do for you, and not what they say they will do for you. Everything that Mayor Kaczyñski says he will do is consistent with what Poles would like to see happen. So, why, in their public hearts do they contradict themselves? We have an idiom in English "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." Babies can grow up, and water can be filtered -- follow your hearts.

*I say 'extra'-long because most of the time the faces are already long - Foreigner observation.
PolBlog - News Poland 24/7
Poland's first (almost) daily English-language news blog.
Read the news then share your views


At 7.7.05, Blogger Rostkowianka said...

It is significant that most of the people you've spoken with (as well - I assume - as most of the ones who read this blog and vote in polls) are Warsavians. While present Mayor of Warsaw was still the most popular presidential candidate, he enjoyed large support country-wide -eccept on his home turf.
All due to the fact that Warshaw citizens got to know him for what he does rather than for what he says he will - and they did not like it. He didn't fix any walk-over bridges, nor any other thing in the city that desperately needed fixing. His "war on corruption" led to a paralisys of decision making, as he wanted the maximum possible control of the City Hall over each step of the process. Sure he can claim it did not stop the big investments in Warsaw: big developers are able to hire enough lawyers to push their paperwork trough - it's the small investors that pay the price. Kaczyński imagined the best solution to cleanse the muncipial structures of corrupted elements was to put everywhere his trusted people. The main criteria were loyality and obedience, qualifications mattered less. As a result, we got a lot of unskilled (to put it mildly) muncipial clerks to run day to day affairs of the city. Whilst they may not be so prone to bribes (doubtful), many of them uses arrogance to cover their incompetence, or simply delights at exercising that little power they were given to boost their ego. The worst part is that any attempt to remove them is treated as a sign that given administration unit has to have some dirty secrets to hide, if they want to remove Mayor's faithfuls from where they could observe and report.
The Gay Parade simply showed, that our Mayor has a tendency to ignore constitutional rights and bend legal procedures whenever he feels the right is his.
Other parts of the country may fell diferent about it, but here mayority of people thinks that Kaczyński would make such president as he is a mayor. And that means - dreadful.


Prześlij komentarz

<< Home

FAIR USE NOTICE This article contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in the efforts to advance understanding of Poland's economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this article is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

podsafe music network

Our neighborhood produce stand