Secular rituals

I’ve often thought that while the Cold War was a Bad Thing and Swedish neutrality largely a sham, the hidden mobilisation depots, the air-raid shelters in all schools and the evacuation plans in the phone book still gave a comforting feeling that We Were Prepared, Plans Had Been Made and that serious people had Considered All Eventualities. Now, bunkers are filled with concrete, subterranean command centers are turned into exhibition spaces, air force road bases dismantled. The risk of war has diminished, but things are more uncertain.

So, it pleases me every time an election comes around, as the well-oiled process, honed over generations, turns into gear. Today it was time again, I walked up to the school, passed the ballot-toting party representatives chatting in the cool evening, selected my ballots, received the envelopes at the entrance to my precinct and went behind the booth to put the ballots in. Then, showing voter card and ID, handing over envelopes, the official carefully checking that there was only a single ballot in each envelope before he dropped them in the boxes, chanting for the other to mark off: “Yellow. White. Blue.” Thank you.

A young woman has not received her voting card, no worries, get to the City Hall where they can fix that, there’s still plenty of time.

Now, it’s just wait for the results to come in.

And in that democratic process, almost 6% of the voters have decided that only people of the right ethnic background should count as first class citizens… Why am I sitting in a handbasket, and where am I going?


Martin said...

Ach! Sehr degenerierte Rassentypus!

thnidu said...

And you see what's happened over here since then (2010-11-02+, USA). Feh.

kai said...

Indeed. It seems uncertainty and change is even more frightening than mutually assured destruction, and the scared yell for someone to take away the scary new things and unknown people and make it as it used to be (but never was).