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FOREIGNER IN SLOVAKIA

Blog: How to win the elections

March 2016 will be the moment of truth. The nation will once again choose their party, and their leader who they think will best serve the country. The marketing machine in the run for power has started already, and is hard to ignore. Pompous politicians on pictures in the streets are sometimes staring, sometimes smiling, to try and convince you about their reliability. And the people? They shrug their shoulders and carry on. 

Illustrative stock photo(Source: TASR)

What should they vote for this time? Against gay marriage? Legalising softdrugs? Or for the loudest voice against asylum seekers? The people just do not care anymore. And why should they? Because in what way does one of the three points above improve the personal sphere of one person? In what way does it improve the life of one person if you legalise or doom an asylum seeker, marrying a gay neighbour, smoking a joint in a backyard?

The primary school teacher for instance. She does not care about these key political topics. Day to day, all she wants is to take good care of her children, so they can rise happily, without sorrow and to provide a solid base for their future. But in what way can she stay positive, keep up the energy, patience and willingness everyday if her children don’t even have a ball to play with in the playground? If she feels frustrated everyday because it is simply not possible to give her children what they actually need?

Or the old lady next door. She needs to hold on tightly to the brick wall every time she wants to leave the house. The stairs are too high for her, the holes in the road to big. She does not care about the political party that tries to win her vote in change of a small bonus to her retirement contribution. What she wants is simply more possibilities in life. An easy walk to the supermarket, and some lights on in the streets for when she walks home on a cold winter evening.

And finally the student. Will he vote for legalizing soft drugs? He won’t. He does not care. The thing he cares about is his future. He is making up the balance between staying at his homeland Slovakia, where his friends and family are. Where he knows every single step. Or leaving this country, having a better chance on proper education and a better future – for himself, and for his children later on. What will it be? Making oneself useful in Slovakia, or leaving to the unknown?

The way to win the election in March 2016 is to give people a reason to care. The person who provides a bridge to repair the gap between politics and the people will not only win the election, but more importantly, will win the willingness and belief of the people. Creating the best in Slovakia is not done by empty phrases of populism, by creating only temporary feelings of joy.

The voters are not a passive group standing at the sideline. It is about standing between the people, giving them hope, showing them possibilities. It is about creating a vision, binding and connecting people to reach the goal together, as a nation. The question is: who has the courage and spirit to do so? Who will be brave enough to pass by the roads of corruption, short term vision and easy excuses? Who will be the shining beacon for us and will change fear and passiveness into hope and lead us ahead into an independent Slovakia?

By Lee Larkin, an expat living in Slovakia

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