I was recently asked to write an article about the atmosphere in France during the elections and it struck me how the crux of it all seemed to be in a weird dilemma between absenteeism and voting against. To vote or not to vote, to act and therefore go against oneself or simply resign and exclude oneself as an active part of the society. Where can a personal answer stand in such an ultimatum?
Nothing new under my sun, it struck me so strongly precisely because it’s been a personal dilemma since my early 20s (or even adolescence…). I became an idealist too soon, as I once reflected by myself, the values I chose to stand for integrated into my very core so fast, I soon enough realized there is only one place where they don’t stand on shaky grounds. Somewhere, deep and high, out of sight, yet always scrapping on the limits of the mind. I only once in my life sincerely voted for a party and that was all I did when some of my colleagues got far more engaged in the campaign. Why couldn’t I, I wondered even back then. It was during writing my first novel, in one of the dialogues with a fictional character, I acknowledged I was simply too stubborn, too demanding, too individualistic for it. I couldn’t even be a revolutionary, since that so often means prescribing oneself to never-changing directions, becoming part of a machine. Do I doubt values too much in real life?
Eventually, I’ve distanced myself from forming a constructive part of the society which soon meant seeing it as something not my own. Seeing the only possible change in a different society which would have nothing to do with this one. How to explain this aversion, without getting in a fatalistic and negatively nihilistic point of view, disengaging, raging, letting the bad guys win?! Maybe, by trying to show how fighting against something ends up contributing to it. How really fighting for something is the real fighting against. Don’t you still hear the idealist in me? My own ”Imagine”.
It doesn’t sound simple, yet it is even less so. How not to fight against something when it is attacking the most basic values you cherish, so closely it seems to penetrate into those far off deep and high grounds and literally burn them? How to not vote for the lesser evil, even when it really is only the second worst and not an inch better, when the worst of it all is winning? And country after a country is falling into the trap…
I cannot answer. I’m still stuck in the dilemma myself.
What if the real lesson is in-between? Not letting the bad guys win first, however, the day after demanding loud and clear more and better from the less bad ones, all the while devoting most of the time and energy for things that really matter. Somehow, in all the limits we acknowledge, building a new society on the side, with our every action, word, intention. Sounds even weirder, right? I can’t help but say it. It feels it is time, somehow. As scary as it sounds, taking all that responsibility on us (stop denying it). Still, creating something always is. Writers should know. We never quite know what we’re going to end up with, nevertheless it’s always worth it, isn’t it?