Monday mornings are always a bit of a struggle as the freedom of the weekend comes to close, but as I drove into work this particular Monday morning I was forced to deal with two new unpleasant items: 1. A 15 minute commute-turned one hour due to pouring rain (yes, it does rain from time to time here in Madrid, but for some reason no one can figure out how to drive in it…) and 2. A Spanish rendition of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” with Spanish lyrics about the current Spanish political situation. And yes, the rendition lasted for the entire song length. Way to kick off the work week!
Now, why was a Justin Bieber song an appropriate choice to talk about the different political parties in Spain these days and the fact that they can’t figure out who should govern the country? I think that question is about as clear to me as the appropriate response when asked almost every other day what I think about the political situation in the US and the possibility of Donald Trump as president.
Let me put it like this: neither situation is really good nor ideal. In one case we have a formerly very strong country regaining its economic bearings and in need of a cohesive mindset and strong leadership to lead it in that direction. In another case we have a very strong country in need of a strong leader to carry out necessary domestic changes while maintaining and building foreign relationships.
In the former, here in Spain, apart from the predominant political parties, PP and PSOE, there has emerged a new, left-wing liberal party called Podemos (“We Can”). Now, maybe originally some of the things this party was saying were seen as too left-wing and communistic. But when you have literally a new, HUGE case of corruption every other day from the current leading party where it comes to light that politicians are shamelessly stealing (and have been for some time), anything new without a sordid history begins to gain appeal. And the “issue” of Catalunya continuing on its independence quest just adds to the situation. So when the elections came around, and no one gained enough power to rule, all hell broke loose. Fast forward to present – no government and still no clear leadership plan in sight. Repeat elections here we come.
In the latter case in the US, we have the two standard political parties as usual, but both candidates seem to me to have come from a joke. One is still associated with her husband’s indiscretions while in the Oval Office, while the other originally seemed like a joke until that toupee-like head of hair made its way to Republican forerunner. I have to say, it is still baffles me how Trump has been able to make it to where he is today. While the idea of “Make America Great Again” in theory doesn’t sound so bad, it would not be an easy task to miss the xenophobic, misogynist undercurrents that can only, in my opinion, lead to greater overall hate and irrational fear. But, then again, it’s a campaign based on that that is helping him gain notoriety and support (and hate). Media presence, whether good or bad, is still exposure.
So, I’ve never been a fan of politics, but these days there’s really no escaping it. Is it better to be in an uncertain environment where trust is diminishing with every new corruption scandal or in a more steady environment where you don’t feel personally robbed as a citizen but where there’s a possibility that the future could be filled with unnecessary fear and border closings? I don’t have a clear answer to this question either, but for now I’m sticking with Sunny Spain and crossing my fingers that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel in both places.
And, in the meantime, I’m also crossing my fingers to avoid any more Monday morning Bieber-esque Spanish political renditions. Unless, of course, there could be a humorous tie-in to the Trump situation (preferably in English).