At school, literacy teachers nervously put a stress on how important it is to keep a rigorous eye when writing an essay. Rigor is needed in order to understand the subject, analyse the question given by the teacher. Rigor again when preparing one’s written answer, so as to stick to the topic, avoiding any drifting away and, eventually fateful, off topic. Stay away from it! Easier said than done. Heavy stress on A-level D-day !
Did I make a relevant writing, in line with the given topic?
What’s left from these rigorous learning and advice, when turning into adulthood? When comes another D-day as for a vote. Those who didn’t participate will easily justify their choice, their moral position. Or lightly blame the « tto nice weather ». Most will find reasonable arguments and won’t feel anyhow off-topic. Probably abstention fans originally were free thinkers and hard to control pupils formerly at school. Now remains a slight blame put on their shoulders, but any one should tolerate this sign of rejection towards the existing political offers and projects. Abstention as a way both to say « no » to voting for extremes and « no » to mainstream, slow motion, traditional democratic parties.
Beyond abstention, remain the disciplined, rules followers with a sense of civic duties. They all went voting. However we’ll never know, despite premium statistical tools, how many actually made an « off topic » choice! How many mixed up local and national issues, european or national matters at stake? How many mixed up UE parliament choice and referendum pro/con the UE? Anyway, all share a kind of responsibility for this new lost polling! François Lenglet, in « La fin de la mondialisation » (the end of globalization) did warn us about our entry in a new cycle of national withdrawal and protectionism. Crisis is a great opportunity for populist ideology vendors, surfing on waves of intolerance and irrational impulses. Loudly uttering « I do exist », any voter afraid of the economic, social and identity crisis, gets overwhelmed and slides easily towards off-topic logics.
Imagine that instead of a European polling we were dealing with a company or association project. Sense of belonging, closeness between staff and management or between association members would lead to a quite different reaction, if vote would be negative, rejecting a proposal. No doubt the company director or the president would immediately call for a meeting in order to understand what is going on and to find a compromise, in order to keep the organization afloat and improving. Hence the eternal issue of Europe’s leadership. Finally, having left apart our literacy teacher, guardian of the admired intellectual rigor, voters on their own have lost their way and lost reason. Deep into a paradox, EU being accused of lacking democratic sense (miserable image of the European Commission and their flock of civil servants) receives another sanction during its most democratic exercise: direct voting!
Citizenship isn’t much learned at school. It takes time to grow inside us. And it’s more and more slowed down by a general, like-it-or-not, loss of sense. Technology isn’t much helpful, empathy decreases despite social networks. Good sense is losing ground. Still besides such a terrific image, younger and dynamic people take a chance in new entrepreneurship, local community commitments. They care so much about their future! It’s still all about democracy and so, about power! Like sometimes illegal urban gardens of Lentillères in Dijon, France, and in every city in Poland and beyond. Free commitments opposed to our old Jacobin habits and other french illusions called « assistanat » (assistantship in a compulsive way meaning « don’t do it, we’ll do it for you and make a new law »). But is that still « off topic » choice?