Dear Mr President

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Petar Kujundzic/Reuters: Vaclav Havel, Dec 19, 1989

 

Fourteen days ago I thought this post will be full of optimism of getting an educated liberal enough president with the potential to lead my home country into the direction that Vaclav Havel had in mind.

Sadly enough, instead we are getting another term of racism and sexism fuelled pro-Russian populism. After the first (and landslide for that matter) victory of Milos Zeman in 2013 many people thought it was just a symptom of not sufficiently appealing counter-candidates. While I thought Mr. Schwarzenberg would make a fine president, I could understand that many people did not see him as an ideal choice. Or, in the 2016 terminology, it must have been a Hillary Clinton situation right? Except at the end of January it turned out that was not the case. Even with the number of white male attractive-enough reasonable candidates, Czech people still chose the old sick racist angry guy. The fear of a made-up muslim refugee threat resonated better than objective advantages and economic growth associated with being part of western society.

As Mr. Zeman keeps insisting after his victory on referendums on EU and NATO memberships (after five years of hard work on misinforming the public on their function), I keep thinking of Vaclav Havel. He led us out of communistic misery and under his leadership we became a western democracy. Even though that democracy is now under the threat and even though the results of both presidential and parliamentary were extremely depressing, at least in the former case, the race was close. Close enough to know that at least half of the Czech voters are still Vaclav Havel’s nation that will not buy into bigoted narratives. So let’s try to learn a lesson from this and, like voters in US, get more involved into politics of our home country.