Children as political tools

Naum Kotevski

How could one not laugh at the announcements made by the State Election Commission chairman Oliver Derkovski that he and the representatives of the parties will sign a Code of Conduct and that they will therefore call for a fair and correct political competition. It’s not like it is the first time so one can be easily fooled, and believes it.

Codes are nothing new, on the contrary they are basically part of all election cycles. But it turned out that it was just a well written text that was not for nothing – remains as written on paper, but the reality is completely different – all available funds are used to inflict irreparable damage on the political opponent. The moral – ethical compass proved that it cannot be tuned with a pen. The very fact is sad that those who are supposed to be an example need a Code! This is a living proof that something is rotten in our state.
Dirty political campaigns in which the “political underworld” works are not a problem that exists only in our country, I admit. It happens everywhere in the world, because the stakes are great.

In the US presidential election, let’s say that the rumors of Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton’s poor health caused damage to her presidential bid. The speculation about her fragile health has become a major topic when she felt sick during a memorial gathering dedicated to the victims of the terrorist attack in New York. Current head of state, Donald Trump, then a Republican candidate, didn’t miss the chance to reiterate his stance, saying that Hillary was not physically and mentally strong enough to perform the post of president. American doctors had to be involved, who unequivocally agreed that the health status of both candidates was satisfactory.

In one of the series of rallies, Trump reiterated six times that Barack Obama is the founder of the Islamic State, and Hilary, who at the time of his first term was  Secretary of State, was called the co-founder of the terrorist organization. He consciously ignored the fact that this organization was formed in Iraq in 2004 before Obama even became president and put Hillary in one of the most important offices in the US administration.

But such examples of amoral unscrupulous punches below the belt should in no way be a mitigating circumstance for what is happening to us. The ongoing presidential campaign, although the official launch is scheduled for April 1 April, after both camps are even more ready to get into the “life and death” battle, undoubtedly exceeds the boundaries of decency.

Spins and slogans that do not resemble a battle of different political stances, but more of a call for fist fight between them, are a reflection of a primitivism, of a kind of exclusivity that marks our political culture. What in some ways can be felt even now is that this campaign could turn out to be one of the dirtiest ever. That feeling has its own foreplay in the various crisis situations after the change of power that culminated with the recent statement of the leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Hristijan Mickoski, that Prime Minister Zoran Zaev had so much blood on his hands that no water could ever wash it off.
In the mud of the devastating absence of rules, principles, and values, they even started involving their children. For a long period of time, the public is witnessing an individual or group involvement of minors in events that have partisan, or political-propaganda character. But now we have progressed. At least for the time being, we are not facing a problem of abuse of children, but abuse of slightly older sons and daughters of politicians in political communication.

It all started with the seemingly harmless, whether accidental or not, publication of a photograph on social media of the son of the VMRO-DPMNE presidential candidate, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova, playing a flute in the City Park, and collecting change as a voluntary contribution and then gives the money to children. It caused a storm of reactions on social media – some positive and supportive, but also some extremely negative. It didn’t took too long before photos of the granddaughter and daughter of Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev appeared on social media as well. The entire misery was eventually encircled with the creative video collage published by VMRO-DPMNE’s Union of Young Forces President, Jovan Jauleski, in which they uploaded photographs of the children of officials from the government in order to create an image that will show the people their luxurious lifestyles, contrary to the modesty of Siljanovska’s son.

To some extent, those who say that when it comes to a position that can have a huge impact on a large number of people, and the qualities of a person that can endanger the fundamental rights of many people, the public interest greatly limits the right to privacy of that person. Spreading certain sensitive information can certainly be a sincere desire to warn others of the real danger of choosing a particular candidate, but this may also prove to be an insincere idea of ​​the methods of winning in the politics field.

Where we set the boundaries is the question that arises. And should the politicians’ children be discredited this way, in some twisted contexts that have nothing to do with reality.

We have been dreaming of an ounce of normality in the political battle for over thirty years – a civilized clash of two different concepts. That degree of primitivism to which we are forced, directed, imposed on us, makes it impossible not to find it frustrating.

Political campaigns by definition are dirty because they leave a ton of garbage behind in the streets, from torn posters, signs, leaflets, lighters and other advertising material. But verbal contamination of space is far worse. Making the campaign a football match in a situation of chasing turnout, makes people, especially young people, distance themselves from political events. And in the end, distance themselves from the entire country as well.