Wow. Not particularly proud of my country (Denmark) right now after the general election yesterday. I don’t know whether those who have voted right-wing are afraid or desperate or just plain stupid since it has come to this ... Goddammit - I know we can do better than this! We KNOW better than this..! You probably all hate us right now (which is understandable, really, and it wouldn’t be the first time).
However, the right-wing parties only won marginally. Half of us haven’t gone over to ‘the dark side’ yet. I know many headliners around the world make it sound like we have, and this new government may very well manage to tighten the noose around culture, education, immigration, integration, our longtime partnership with EU and any other human decency before they are let go. But believe me, half of us will put up a fight all along! So many of my peers and fellow students find it appalling the turn this election has taken.
We are a little, fairly unknown country of no significant consequence, but we are privileged on so many levels - compared to so many others who have little to nothing, and it still matters how we are viewed by and how our choices reflect upon those around us. Unfortunately, few Danes realize this and are mostly concerned with themselves and their own lives. That’s why this election has bothered me so much: We, of all people, can and must choose to take a stand against everything that is happening around us: right-wing extremism, xenophobia, etc.. Not because we are better, but because we know better. We are a tight-knitted community who must be able to show an example of how to treat your neighbor, your next of kin, with tolerance and respect. To help those most in need. To dare speak our minds; where nothing is too holy to debate, criticize or confront, not even our own methods. That is some of our greatest virtues, I believe. However, our general nitpicking, navel-gazing, and taking too much for granted are our biggest vices. Whether it’s because of our welfare model; that we’ve become too content and self-absorbed, or if it’s a cultural thing; a mentality we’ve established throughout time and become renown for, I can’t say. A dry satirist would say that Denmark is, roughly, a strange composite of navel-gazing inhabitants who rarely go anywhere but Majorca when they travel, and ambivalent cosmopolitans who know better but too often become disappointed in politics.
I may be wrong and utterly naive. But the image we are sending right now is one of hostility; hostility towards anything that isn’t us or isn’t with us, and it is far from the picture I have or want to send of my own country. Right now, in a ideologically divided Europe that is also in an economic crisis, we do not need another hostile front. Nor does the rest of the world that too battles crises of various kinds. It will do us no good. Not now and not in the long run. I only hope my generation will try to do better.