When fear and hate normalize, love becomes isolated. We need love pirates!

Since the start of covid times we have never seen more division in our society. As well as less care.

Recently a friend tested covid positive at 7 months of pregnancy lost her little baby, her little angel, because the doctor did not want to take care of them under covid. Our governments have done well to install deep chaos.

In another neighboorhood, a 74-year-old woman isolates herself because those around her find it completely normal to openly share her racism and hatred. Shocked in her values, she can no longer bear to swim alone in the ocean of love. Her cries for it no longer pass.

And I could share more sad stories like these. So tell me, how many souls will continue to get lost indirectly in these times of Covid?

Indeed, the real virus is no longer the COVID-19. Instead, we are now in front of the hate virus. And, I tell you, we must fight this one more than the other.

Do not repeat Brexit on a larger scale. There were many lessons to be learnt from it, which we shared in a previous session of Together-Ensemble on “Addressing Populism”, with Anthony Zacharzewski, Elisa Vecchione, Marco Ricorda, and Tom Brake.

  • Don’t think it’s a given that people will stand for unity and love. “Populists thrive in an environment where other parties and parties in power are not vocal enough in denouncing the “scapegoatism” of minorities and myth busting“.
  • In times of crisis, monsters will get stronger every day until we solve it. “The little populist in every of us that needs protection and comfort that ‘I am right’”.
  • People are ready to believe any fantasy in times of chaos because they are trying to escape a sad reality.
  • Humiliated people are tempted to seek revenge and can be manipulated by populists who claim they understand their humiliation and will get them compensated.

Solutions which were envisaged and which could be used for this crisis:

  • Address the emotions. When people speak with their heart, we should speak to their heart in return, not to their minds.
  • Give citizens a greater sense of control and involvement. Identify the issues, which are most important to citizens and take tangible actions to deal with them, while confronting false information.
  • Acknowledge and apologize for failed policies of the past.
  • Do not over-rely on expert based opinions.
  • Create strong leadership for new channels and new approaches that can break out of historic problems or ‘stuck’ politics. Populism exploits weaknesses in Liberal Democracy, by providing quick and simple answers.

Participants also shared this book reading tip:  On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder.

These are not good times for our dreams. But there must be hope. And I ask: Who stands against the virus of hate? Who takes care of the urgent need for more care? We need more pirates fighting for this. We need love pirates!

Photo by Mateusz Dach on Pexels.com

Anthony Zacharzewski is an international leader in democratic innovation and government reform. After fourteen years in strategic roles in UK central and local government, he founded the Democratic Society  in 2006 to develop new approaches to democratic governance that are better suited to the 21st century. He has worked with government at every level from village council to European Commission, and on projects in Serbia, Ireland, France and the UK.

Elisa Vecchione is policy analyst at the JRC, working in the field of citizen engagement and deliberative democracy. With a mixed academic background in public policy and science and technology studies, she has been looking at how scientific uncertainty and contested evidence are dealt with in different decision-making settings, including policy-making and court trials, and through different scientific approaches, including risk assessment and mathematical modelling. Her contributions have been published in various academic journals, including the European Journal of Risk Regulation, European Policy Analysis, the Chicago Journal of International Law.

Marco Ricorda is a communication expert, political communication blogger, public speaker and a twice nominated #EUinfluencer. He is the Communication Officer for the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)and formerly a Member of Cabinet for President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, Head of Social Media for the ALDE group and Guy Verhofstadt, digital communication strategist for the European Commission and the economic think tank Bruegel.

Tom Brake is a former Deputy Leader of the UK House of Commons. He was the Brexit spokesperson of the Liberal Democrats until December 2019. He had been an MP for 22 years.

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