WHO or WHAT? Politicians or Ideologies?

There is something about the way people treat politics that I have never fully understood. More specifically, it bothers me how easily people blame all their problems on politicians.
We demonize them, accuse them of sinning against humanity, make them responsible for absolutely all our troubles, and peek into their private lives to condemn them for their mistakes.

Now, while I won’t deny many politicians deserve a mob to raid them off their priviledged positions… Guys, it seems like we’re forgetting the whole meaning behind democracy. WE choose our representatives in the government.

My thoughts regarding the subject started when I was very young. I usually talk a lot about the 90’s and 00’s, when everything here went to hell.
I remember watching people on TV curse the president(s) with all their might, call for the people to go to Plaza de Mayo (from where the president governs), and manifest there, bring the people responsible out. In 2001, Fernando de la Rúa had to leave the place in a helicopter.
“Que se vayan todos” came to be the words by which that time in history will be identified forever -at least to me. “We don’t need politicians”, “they are all corrupt”, “we’re better off without politics”.

Now, granted, those were times of terrible social drama. Many people crossed the poverty line during that time. The manifestations were incredibly violent, and many people died at the hands of the repressive police body.
It was such a traumatic experience for everyone, to the present day there are still social groups that claim to be a-politic with pride holding their heads up, as if that was a compliment to their honor.

Again, I’m not defending the bastards that lead my country to its worst crisis; nor the rest of the corrupt people governing the world through history, and even right now. But I must admit that it’s shocking how people lay the blame so easily on the most visible faces, before looking a themselves and thinking “well, I did vote for the bastard”.

Moving away from my country for a little, where things now are anything but a-political, I find people behave in similar, yet slightly different ways in places like, for example, the US.
Just the other day I found an article that presented the readers with the following question: “how can the people trust a political leader that is known to have cheated on his/her marriage?”. It seemed odd to me that anyone would connect both issues.

I don’t care about this or that politician’s marital life. I care about them being politically honest and similar to my views, and to act according to their ideology. Whatever happens between they and their partners is honestly none of my business.
People might argue: “ah, but if he isn’t loyal to his/her wife/husband” -or something of the sort- “then how can you expect him to be loyal to his ideals?”. Well, since when do they have to be related? If you learned that the cashier at the supermarket is cheating on his wife, would you stop going to that supermarket?

People seem to forget all too often that the political life of politicians is their job. Sure, it’s a complicated world, there is a lot at stake, and they have a lot of personal involvement on it. But it is separated from what happens inside the walls of their homes.

And yet, the media obsesses with stuff like that.

The reason I’m bringing this up, is because I whole-heartedly believe that this way of thinking truly hurts politics. It ends up personalizing political ideals, and that is the worst thing you can do -and one of the points where I differ from peronism.
I think that it’s good to admire politicians, and to support them -but what you really need to fight for is not a leader, but an ideology. People are finite, and imperfect. Ideals can embrace people through generations and bring them together for the future. Depending on a single person is not a smart strategy on a long-term basis.

We need to stop treating politicians as celebrities, as saints, as demons, and start seeing them as what they’re supposed to be: representatives of a political party of this or that ideology.

I don’t know, this really bothers me.
During the year I was chosen to be the student’s centre’s president, I attended many reunions with lots of other centres, and their representatives. There, I saw the same mistake being committed over and over again, only in a slightly different way: the question they wanted to answer was “who are we fighting against?”.
I would usually stand up in the middle of heated discussions of blame being thrown here and there, only to say that looking for an enemy was what a short-sighted organization would do. That we need to find an ideology that represented all students, objectives to fight towards. Sure, it’d be more difficult, because building is always more complicated than destroying. But, in the end, it would be worth it…

Of course, I was epicaly ignored by most people, who only cared about pushing their parties’ structure further into our students’ organizations. Now-a-days these organizations are a mess, and I’m fully convinced that this way of approaching the political fight is one of the main reasons that’s true.

I guess that seeing how that worked was what has kept me from joining a party and working inside it. I love politics, and I want to contribute, but… Being smart.
If political involvement will mean being told who to idolize and who to demonize, then I’m better off walking my own path, even if alone.

What do you think? Is politics all about the ideas, or all about the face who’s representing it? Why?

Thanks for reading my mess,
-Mila.

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Here starts the cycle of hate

Today, I wanted to talk about my experience in a little nice cafe in the center of Buenos Aires, and about my thoughts on “certified exams” such as the CAE, which I’m taking today and tomorrow.
But, unfortunately for that very interesting topic, something else caught my eye today.

Rusia, shame on you. This phrase will open and close the topic.
I’m part Russian. My great-grandfather and his wife were Russian, and that shows now-a-days in my very pale complexion, blond hair, and clear grey eyes. His name was Leon, and I really admire his story, as told by my grandma.
Apparently, he was born in a very small town in the big and cold country, with very few people, even fewer kids, and a single teacher who went from neighbor towns to his’ during the week to teach. There, the man discovered that Leon was an incredibly intelligent kid, faster than most children his age, and also eager to learn. His speed usually got him to the point where he wouldn’t have anything left to do while the rest of the kids were still stuck halfway-through, so he got quite bored in class, and soon enough lost all interest in that small school.
You see, Leon wanted more. He wanted to see what was beyond his parents’ field, where they worked all day; he wanted to discover how the world looked like -not by books, but through his very eyes. He wanted to grow as a person and become a successful and knowledgeable man. And, you know what? I’ve felt the same since I was a little kid.

So, as you can see, I really feel I have a strong connection with this man I’ve never met, but who inspires me so. He is almost the only reason why I feel some sort of longing towards Russia, as if something mysterious was tying me to that place.

And, as if he wasn’t enough of a reason, there’s also my father. Did you know he was a militant communist until 1989, an year before the destruction of the Berlin Wall? Even during his teenage years, when the military practically prohibited anything that was red, my father and his parents still read about communism, discussed it, and dreamed of the most widely shared utopia in the world. Russia, for them, was the place where the dreamed land could come true.
Of course, we know how that ended up; but, nonetheless, there’s no denying that Russia was one of the very first communist experiments, and that adds some sentimental value to it.

Once, so far ahead its time. Now, it lives in the middle ages again.

You may be wondering why on earth am I talking about Russia and what connects me to it. To that I answer that you should read the news more.
Today, a law censoring “non-traditional sexual relationships propaganda” towards the Russian children, was passed by the country’s legislative representative, with almost an unanimity.
Now, I won’t talk about how the lack of semantic specificity allows for abuses of this law; I think that’s pretty obvious in and of itself.
This, as you might guess, was an anti-LGBT project.
What Russia is doing, is preparing the way for a generation of hateful human beings to take up the country in the future. And hateful citizens make for hateful countries.
Under the excuse of “protect the children from deprivation”, and using the church as a shield, homophobic groups have put enough pressure on the country’s agenda and representatives to make sure that their children will be able to happily live inside a bubble of racism for the rest of their childhood. Good for them, uh?

“Ignorance is power”, Orwell chose as one of 1984’s fascist government’s mottoes. Like this, Russian kids will grow up separated from those depraved beasts, focusing only in the good ol’ bible’s handful of traditions and morals, and will, thus, have the excuse of ignorance to hate unreasonably on the LGBT community. This is no different from making kids read about how Jews are all greedy and mean, and how they all have big noses with a big nasty hairy spot where they end; the result is the same: blind, unjustified fear. And with fear, comes hate. With hate, comes violence. And then, the cycle of blood starts.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the next nutzo to claim unlimited power in the world and declare war against humanity, had a specially harsh speech against the LGBT. Neither would it surprise me if he/she was Russian.

I’m disappointed, and worried about the future of the children in Europe. With this, and the episodes of violence occurring lately in France, I seriously think any LGBT member in that continent, or any person who supports them there, is going to have some though times ahead.
Be strong. Even though there shouldn’t be a need to even have to explain why everyone deserves the same rights and privileges, you shall. And, as you are speaking from love and respect, you know your arguments will hold up to those who only preach hate towards what they can’t, or refuse to, understand.

Have faith, not in an invisible god, but in the will of those who understand. Look upon Latin America and it’s example of inclusion, and thrive for a similar future for your people.

Oh, and:
Shame on you, Russia.

Thanks for reading.
Mila.

Who shows you what you see?

Ok, so I’ve been “accused” many times of being a kirchnerist by my friends. Now, this isn’t by any means a bad word. It just means you are in favor of the current government. Or, at least, it should mean that.
If that was its only definition, then I would probably say, “yes, I kind of am”. But that’s not what my friends mean when they say that to me. I deny it, and I’m going to explain to you just why I do so, and how this came to be.

Another of Clarín's first pages from those times.

“New Government” Referring to the three representatives of the military that took the power after kicking the democratically elected president.

I’ve talked about the media here, haven’t I? The general picture is: the little group of people that have all the money, also control all the mainstream media. I think some of you must be familiar with this concept, right?
Anyways, that’s how it works here, and how it’s been working since… Well, I’d say since the beginning of this country, but honestly, it only got this bad after the last dictatorship.
The Clarín Group, managed by the Noble family (yes, that’s their family name. I find it ironic), took a hold of Papel Prensa, the biggest producer of paper for the press. How? Oh, you know, by torturing its rightful owners into signing the selling papers.
They are currently on trial for this.
Now, for this to happen, they needed the brute force of the army, which was in the power at that moment. They got to their good side by siding up with them.

Clarin's first page right when the coup d'était started.

“The Militay Council is the State’s supreme organ”

By tricking the population into thinking nothing was going on, and that this was only a peaceful and transitory government, and convincing them that they wanted the military on the power because of the “terrorist threat”, they managed to make a lot of people oblivious of what was going on.
Sounds familiar, whatever US citizen reading this? Well, it shouldn’t surprise you. After all, the US military had a lot to do with the military getting a hold of the government, and of their violent methods once there; but I’ll talk about that some other day.

Anyways, by seemingly becoming one of these people’s tools, they were able to use them to their advantage. After all, one of the people in charge of making the paper producer’s owners to sign, was one of the most important functionaries of the military council (who is now in trial, yes).

Not much later…

And yet another of Clarín's front pages.

“Videla (illegitimate president) inaugurated the Papel Prensa plant”. There, you see Videla, with the Noble couple, re-opening the plant after they ‘bought it’.

Wait, I had a point here…
Ah, yes of course!

After buying the plant which produced the paper for each and every one of the newspapers and magazines of the country, they were legally able to set prices at will. So, for their own newspaper, Clarín, its cousin, La Nación, and to every other newspaper or magazine they liked, the prices were minimal.
But, for newspapers which didn’t share their views, the price was… Slightly… Definitely higher. This meant that Clarín was much cheaper, making it more accessible for the common man.
And that, kids, is how Clarín got so popular, and grew SO big in such little time.

They got so good at what they did, and so close to the government, their lies started becoming more and more reckless.
During the Malvinas War, they actually helped convince the general populi that our country was actually winning! Our country. Extremely unprepared for war. Sending teenage boys with no training over there. With lack of food. Against England. It didn’t take a mastermind to figure out that was pretty fucking impossible.

Guess what?

“Imminent recuperation of the Malvina Islands”. No doubt there.

I’m losing my track of thoughts again…
Oh, righ.

Ok, back to present day. Now that you have a general, very subjective, and extremely opinionated idea of where this group comes from, you can slightly understand what they do, why, and how.
(Seriously, guys, I only know this part of the story. I do encourage you to investigate and let me know what comes across your path).

So, yeah, as you can imagine, they’ve been manipulating the population the same way ever since. They helped to economically overthrow the first democratic government after the process; pushed candidates like Menem into the government; pushed Ministers of Economy like Cavallo into the Ministry (ask Ecuador how much good HE did over there); they were the ideological responsible for the neo-liberal policies applied in my country, and for the epic economical crash of 2001. You might have heard about it.

The minute they saw what ideologies Nestor Kirchner, who assumed as president right after that, held high in sight, they understood he meant trouble for their wallet, and empire.
I don’t think there has been a single day passing without the Clarín newspaper, or any of its branches, badmouthing, criticizing, and aggravating him and his wife, our current president. Sometimes the critics were spot-on. And sometimes it was just someone throwing shit at them for no good reason, other than the rage they felt.
And, being this the most popular newspaper, news channels, and celebrities magazines in the country, their ideas spread fast.

“Is she under psychiatric treatment?”. Noticias magazine, under the Clarín Group’s management, accusing Cristina Kirchner, then first lady, of having a bipolar disorder, without proofs, without consulting any of her doctors, without her consent, without anything. Obviously, it was a lie. But the idea was installed in society ever since. This is the power and impunity of the media.

Now, let me make this very very clear. There is nothing I find better than someone making a thoughtful critic about a certain government, policy or ideal, and discussing it with other people. But, and I’m not just talking, this is serious, most people who right-out HATE the Kirchner couple, have memorized this speech, repeated it all over the place, and to themselves, until they believed it, and couldn’t think in any other way. Sometimes this is applied literally. I am not joking.
Most people don’t even realize how deep in their brains some concepts have been carved.

Repetition, impunity, power. These are the elements they have to make people think what they want them to think. They give new concepts to every word they use, and make it so that it’s actually used in a daily basis.

They’ve made words like ‘officialism’, ‘kirchnerist’, and ‘officialist’ into insults. And what I mean by that is that people have actually tried to insult me by calling me all that in debates and forums.
They have divided this country into “K” and “Anti-K”, and then accused the actual government of being responsible for this bipolarity (though they haven’t done much to fight that, really).

By calling yourself a ‘kirchnerist’, some people around you automatically think you are a poor brainwashed person who blindly follows the current government. By calling yourself an ‘oppositor’, some people around you think you are a hateful human being who blindly follows the commands of the Clarín Group.

But, of course, the world isn’t black and white; it’s full of greys, and, quite frankly, that’s probably the only thing that makes it bearable.

I like greys. I enjoy watching them, and I enjoy belonging to them. My thoughts belong to the grey zone. My ideologies aren’t just that or what, they are a combination of ideas, concepts, and knowledge. My way of thinking is unique, and so is everyone else’s.
What bothers me the most about these people, is not only that they claim to be the voice of the whole population, nor really their bloody past, though these things do bug me. What bothers me the most is the fact that they imply you can either be on one side or the other. They deny the greys. And that is not healthy for society, not in the least.

And not only is it unhealthy, it’s proven to be fatal. This is not the first time people like this have tried to divide the society of my country. They have tried, and succeeded before. And every time they did, guess what happened in the end? War. And, in the worst cases, civil war.
Realists vs Autonomists, Federalist vs Unitarians, Conservatives vs Radicals, Peronists vs Gorillas, K vs Anti-K. Our history is marked by the rivalry between two completely opposite groups. And, most of the times, things heated up enough to escalate to wars.
Divide and conquer, you know. As we are too distracted fighting between each other for no real reason, the people who orchestrated all that, swim in their impunity. And money.

By labeling themselves, they usually give up to the possibility of looking at the good attributes of the other side, and actually constructing. Together. Like people who live in the same country. Together.

Taking on definitions like those means not wanting to accept the rest.

Labeling is… Well, I’m short for words. Labeling is stupid. Specially when it refers to political ideologies. It blinds us from our real problems, and from the people we should be looking at with special care.

And that’s why I don’t do that. There.

Well, thanks for putting up with my ranting again.
Take care of yourselves, and remember to pay attention to what you read, what you think, who you side up with, and who you’re really against. What are you not seeing from the general picture? And, who is blocking your sight?

-Mila.

Conclusions on my career choice

It’s funny. I’ve been struggling with that tedious decision of ‘what to study after high school’ for two years now, complaining that it was inhuman to make a teen choose what he or she wanted to do for the rest of her/his life at such a young age, telling myself I didn’t need to worry about that, and worrying still, and going from Meteorology to History, going through Psicology and even Enology in the middle.

And now that I’ve taken a ‘final decision’, if that even exists, everything seems so normal, so natural. It almost feels as if every minute, every second, I’ve spent thinking about this subject, was there for a reason from the very beginning.

Now, when people ask me, I can proudly say ‘yes, I’m studying Politics next year’, and feel completely used to that choice.

Deciding an' stuff

I still feel I was forced to face some stuff I wasn’t supposed to at my age, and that I went deeper in analysing myself than I was intended to all along. But I’m still happy about all this.

But, if you ask me how I got to the conclusion that Politics was the best option for me, I wont say anything about having good job opportunities, or it being interesting to study. All my options were like that.

No. For me, the question that made me get to this decision was the following:

In what field of study and work can I rest assured I will NEVER get bored?

As naturally as breathing, the answer came to me: Politics.

And thus, in a few weeks, I’m gonna go sign up for Buenos Aires’ University, to start next year.

And, even though this took me long to reflect over, I still know this isn’t my final decision. I can still change my mind as many times as I want to, and study something else.

There’s no need to worry so much.

I’m writing this, partly because I’m bored at school cause the teacher is absent, and partly because I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there still struggling with this tremendous decision.

Relax. Take e-ea-sy.

You can do it. Just let it flow.

Thanks for reading,

-Mila.

Transgenics and all that jazz II

This is an answer to Nurulthecook’s reply on my previous post about transgenics. I decided to make it into a post, mostly because it was too long, and also because this gives me the chance to clarify some stuff I couldn’t talk about in the previous one. Her opinion was this:

I’m currently against! So many reasons. I love my food natural. Preferably without chemicals fertilizer or pesticides. I don’t swear by organic. Because organic may start off meaning well, but in the end it has to go through a long chain of companies meaning people. And unfortunately for some people money means more than ethics. So sticking an organic label on normal non organic produce is very easy-and possible to do by the distributor (to name just one). This was the personal experience of a late friend of mine.

Now when it comes to genetically altered food-(I can see you taking apart all my arguments already;-)) I doubt that the companies that supply the seeds will ever tell you about any problems health or environment related. I don’t trust corporations. Most only want to suck the people dry of every last ounce of blood they have-only to come back and sell you your blood back at five times the price.

The genetic alteration can, I think pass onto people. Maybe it would have adverse affects in the future. But then most of the fruit in the west has been modified or altered genetically already (and many taste crap!). But we still eat it. There are a lot of sick people in the western hemisphere of the world. And food is just one cause of this.

There is enough food in the world to feed everyone. It’s just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And now with the speculation on food in the financial markets and the drive to make biofuel from food we eat……the prices will go up again. And the poorest in the world will suffer.

Maybe I’m wrong. I just have this idea of ALL of the worlds seeds eventually becoming corporately owned. And the diversity of certain edible plants has already dwindled to just a few. So when nature makes it’s call on the plants-the fittest and strongest will survive. If there are only a few varieties-then the odds are against that plant surviving.

This is becoming a post…..

In the modern world, currently globalized, and with vestiges of the post-fordism ways for producing, there is no ‘natural food’. Every veggie, fruit, or cereal you’ve had in the last, say, 20 years, has been modified from it’s original self by humans in one way or another. This isn’t something necessarily bad, though.

Take corn, for example: an oleaginous plant original from the American continent. When Europeans got here for the first time, this cultive was one of the most important for the originary people from here (Mexican food now-a-days is a living culinary example to this). But the plant was different then: it had many fewer seeds when it reached maturity. And I’m talking about having between 8 to 16! Think of the present corn plant, and you see that’s just crazy.
When Europeans discovered how useful this plant was, they started cultivating it too. But, what they did was something different as well. They started crossing for reproduction only those plants with more than 10 seeds, for example. After a few years, they had only plants with more than 10 seeds, so they started crossing between plants with more than 15. This went on until, at some point, every corn plant cultivated everywhere was like the one we use today.
That, Nuru, was the way the ‘genetic modification’ from that time worked.

Apart from this, no one cultivates anything for mass-production without using either lots of chemicals, or either transgenic seeds. That, unless you cultivate ‘organics’.

Now, let’s analyze every one of these options, shall we?

Chemicals, such as plaguicides, fertilizers, an the likes.
When you are an agropecuary investor, or producer, your cultives are bound to face a lot of dangers -but you can’t allow any of those to affect your production, or else, you lose money, and producing becomes unprofitable. In order to make sure none of the many variants of nature leave producers without their money, they’ve developed many helpers.

Fertilizers replenish the soil’s natural nutrients and minerals, the ones it looses when cultivating the same plant various times. If a producer performs mono-cultives (meaning, he produces one ONE kind of plant), then the soil could become unuseful and spoiled, and cultivating there wouldn’t be profitable. Do you imagine what would happen if, in every piece of land we cultivate in, the soil would become like that after a few years? We couldn’t reach the global production we have now-a-days, making hunger a MUCH bigger problem. Fertilizers are there, in part, because of this. Of course, they also give plant a bust, but what’s really important about them is their enviromental role.

Pesticides, on the other side, are there to fight one big problem nature throws at us, and that has caused many loses during the centuries. Im talking about plagues. There’s not much depth into them other than they kill bugs and plants that ruin a cultive.
The problem there seems to be with this, is that they can be quite toxic. That is, if not used properly. Every land owner that buys a pesticide to use, is aware of the instructions, because they come with the package: it has to be diluted in a certain quantity of water, for it to harm the pests, but not the humans.
And I mean it, people! Hard and meticulous studies have been performed on every pesticide there is, and they have been proven not to be toxic when used properly. The problem is, there isn’t really a normative or regulation on it’s use. Labs just trust their clients to do the right thing, for all I know, which might not be very efficient, as we all know.

All in all, chemicals have been a big part of what we call ‘the green revolution’, which proved that a piece of land’s productivity isn’t decided merely on it’s extension, but on the technical advances that we can use in it.

Transgenics. I’ve already explained quite a lot about them, but I guess I could keep on writing for a while longer.
Transgenics are usually made by taking one particular gen from a certain plant, which gives this plant a certain characteristic that makes it good against extreme temperatures, or a certain plague, or makes it use less nutrients from the soil, or something else, and to insert it in the genetic code of the plant we want to cultivate in mass.
That’s all there is to it.

Soy field

Soy field. A normal view in Argentina’s countryside.

Now, the process takes a long, long time. First, scientists need to find that specific plant with that specific characteristic they’re looking for. After that, they have to decode their DNA. Now comes the first experimental stage, which is adding or subtracting to that DNA chain until they find that particular gen that gives this plant that particular characteristic. This could take YEARS.
Now, let’s say they find it, and now they’re ready to insert it in, for example, a soy bean! Or are they?
The second experimental part of this process is trying to add this gen to this soy’s DNA sequence. This could work or not, they don’t really know before trying. After adding it to every possible position in the chain, let’s say they find the position that actually works with the soy bean. Ok, so now, they need to actually make the seed containing that modified DNA chain.
This, after many tries, leaves you with some growing soy, that you have to immediately start cloning. Why? Well, because you need many exactly identical samples of this plant, because if it breeds with another one, then you lost years of work!
So the soy plants start growing, and they make sure they breed between each other. After many years of hard work, you have the first actually cultivable seeds of the modified soy bean! Now, you can sell it to…! No, actually you can’t, because you need to go through many testes and applications, that, here, usually take between 3 and 8 years, for it to be approved to be commercialized.

And that’s, pretty much, how transgenic seeds are accomplished! Though it’s actually much harder and complicated than that!

What many people say about transgenics, is that they’re afraid that, as they are genetically modified, they will mutate their DNA as well.
Now let me ask you a question: when you eat meat, do you suddenly start becoming a cow? Or, when eating an ‘organic’ lettuce, do you feel like your skin becomes green, and you suddenly feel like doing photosynthesis?
The answer to those is ‘no’. And the answer is ‘no’, because we can’t actually ‘absorb’ the DNA of what we eat, much less to ‘add’ that non-absorbed DNA into our own. That just doesn’t make sense. So no, eating a transgenic plant wont make you into a monster or a plant. Not more than eating meat makes you into a cow.

Organics. When I hear someone bragging about how they ‘only eat organic food’, I can’t help but shamelessly laugh. What do you define as ‘organic’, really? A plant that wasn’t modified by men? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but as I explained in my introduction, we already modified most of what we cultivate from it’s original self already.
A plant that wasn’t cultivated with any chemicals? I would never eat something like that, because, if pesticides weren’t used on it, then that means that plant was exposed without any defense to any kind of bug or possibly toxic plant. Not very appealing, is it?
And not having consumed any fertilizer, means that the plant may or may not have had a disease during it’s growth, as it’s defenses weren’t reinforced. It also means that it may not have acquired every nutrient it needed, making it’s growth insufficient, and it’s nutritive value decrease.

An ‘organic’ plant isn’t healthier, greener, or better than the average one. It’s actually probably less safe than the average. Pay a lot of attention the next time someone talks about how they only eat organic, and try to guess if they have any idea of what they’re talking about.

Well, I don’t want to make this into a rant, so I think I’ll stop right here. My thanks to Nurulthecook for her answer in the previous post about transgenics, which gave me the drive this write this sequel. I always appreciate any opinion or doubt you have about the posts!
(Do check out Nurul’s blog, it’s pretty cool. Even for someone with the cooking skills of a rock, such as me).

Oh, by the way, I think I’ll start posting on Fridays periodically, and maybe add random posts around the week. But Fridays will be obligatory for me!
Well, thanks for reading, and see you next week.

-Mila.

An apology, and…

I have been absent for about a month now, and I wanted to apologize. Writing is something I just can’t force, and lately, I haven’t been really up for it.
I’ll try to have more of a schedule. Maybe mark a day a week when I’ll surely upload at least something, so this doesn’t happen again… I dont know yet.

Here’s today’s topic, though: youth’s vote in Argentina.

 

As you may not know, political rights in my country apply only to citizens, as it does in most parts of the world. This means that a person is only able to present him/herself for a public charge, or to vote, when he/she becomes a citizen. In Argentina’s case, when turning 18 years old. Here, voting is obligatory as estipulated in our Constitution.

In the last days, though, a specific subjtect has been very discussed over all kinds of media, and also between groups of people. Two senators from the actual government’s party have recently presented a law-in-the-making to allow teenagers to have the option to vote when they turn 16 years old. Not full political rights, then, but the chance to vote as an option, until they turn 18, when it becomes obligatory.
This has caused a pretty interesting reaction in the country. And I love interesting reactions.

The most repeated argument against it, is that ‘there are more important things to discuss other than this’. Of course, the government’s opposition did say the same when the national project for a netbook per student (Conectar Igualdad), the law regulating the taxes on soy beans exportation, and the media’s regulation law were proposed, among with many others. Actually, this is the most commonly used argument against practically anything the government does.
I wonder what are the things they find ‘truly important’ to discuss?

The second most commonly heard, is that ‘kids that age aren’t yet ready to vote. They don’t qualify. Now this, my friends, is a very dangerous concept. To be ‘qualified’ to vote.
You know, when you study my country’s history, there is a very special time that was maker of many brilliant minds: 1880. These people were called ‘the 80’s generation’. Among them were many now procers t the country.
These people had an ideal for that then young Argentina. They looked up to the USA’s political system, and to france’s ideologies and culture -yes, that seems to be a constant for argentinian thinkers and politicians until the WWI.
But, they were such intelligent people, they understood the common man was basically an idiot (in Sherlock’s words: ‘don’t take it the wrong way. Technically everyone is one’). So they wanted to restrinct the posibility to vote to only those who had attended/were attending university.

Do you imagine what it would be like if the only ones who could vote were college students? Exactly, that’s the exact opposite to ‘democracy’.

Democracy is meant to be the representation of the majority, while respecting the many minorities.

So, when these people now say 16-year-olds aren’t good enough to vote, what are they basing their arguments on? Is it based on their intelligence? Because I know many 16yearolds that are largely smarter than most adults (heck, I know many 12-year-olds smarter than them). Is it about their naivete? Then, is there a way to ‘calculate’ one’s naivete? A naive adult isn’t allowed to vote either?
Is it about life experience? Well, I’m 18, allowed to vote, and don’t really differ from a 16-year-old’s expertise in life, honestly.

Some senator has been repeating in front of every journalist she can find that ‘her biggest fear is that these kids are in any way manipulated by political parties’. Oh, now there we’re getting somewhere.

Remember that post about that 0800-something meant for kids and families to denounce any ‘political activity’ in schools?

Can you see the patron? Because I can. FEAR.

In the late years, the youth from this country has managed to become another political factor here. We ARE a political group, we stand for what we think is right, we manifest for it and against what we think isn’t, and we influence the course of decitions. We have managed to achieve this so-called power thanks to the effort of many more before us.
The only thing that was keeping us from being truly desicive in the political aspect of the country, was the fact that most of us couldn’t vote. Now this law is making that possible. This law will allow us to claim our rightfull place in the table where the country’s decitions are actually made.

On to the agreeing part of the discussion, we have sayings like ‘this is a great way to get teenagers interested in politics from their early ages’. Well, be carefull with that. I believe politics are a way to open one’s mind, and to know more about the world, to take a step forward for your ideals. But, at the same time, we can’t deny that politics has always been the highway for the economical interests to move their wealth. This is a double-edged sword, that can only be responsably wielded if this law comes along with more and better education on this field, concientization.

Also, let’s not forget that the present government has a lot of the youth’s support, so this also responds to THEIR interests.

People are still people.

Anyways, is with hard discussion like these that the politicians’ and media people’s true way of thinking come out, which is always fun to watch.

How does voting work in your countries? What do you think about this law?

Thanks for reading.

-Mila.

 

Ah, Royalty…

I’ve just read LizEccentric7’s article on Vlad Tepes, giving out some interesting facts, and writting about her hypothesis on the circumstances of some moments of his life, as well as his death.

At some point, however, Liz let’s us know that recently, Prince Charles admitted that he is distantly related to the Impaler’s family line, and she questions if that was a smart idea:

Prince Charles admits to being related to Vlad:  I found it interesting that Prince Charles publicly claimed that genealogy shows that he is a distant relative of Vlad the Impaler. The claim accompanied his announcement of a pledge to help conserve the forested areas of Transylvania. Prince Charles admits to being related to a family of people who were mass murderers, to conserve a forest? I would NEVER admit to this fact, would you? Never want my name associated with the of “Vlad, the impaler.” Prince Charles has some guts, that’s for sure!

Well, personally, I don’t see why not.
Nowadays it is not a secret that the Royalty all over Europe has it’s hands drenched in blood, accumulated through-out history.

It doesn’t matter what period of time you want to talk about, until about half of the XX century, there have always been multiple killings in the crowns’ behalf.

And not just killings, that’s not the worst.

What bothers me more, is the mere existence of a Royalty in Europe in the XXI century. There is no real need for it; they represent the exact contrary to Democracy and a Republic.

The Royalty itself is, together with the Vatican (they are kind of the same thing, in my humble opinion), the most clear representation of retrograds: hatred, elitism, discrimination… The kind of power and ideals that pulls the whole humanity back.

And yet, they have the public’s acceptance.

Prince Charles’ relationship with Vlad the Impaler doesn’t bother me. Now, the fact that he is ‘Prince’ sickens me.

Just a thought…