The PM particles in our heads

The PM particles in our heads
Petar Arsovski

As PM pollution is being actualized, I wonder how we should measure the critical contamination we demonstrate continuously in our post-revolutionary heads, enchanted by new freedom and the coming of life. I am afraid of the consequences of this new life, and from the possible counter-reactions of the general criticism towards the new government, which came faster, sharper, and more hysterical than we expected in the most skeptical estimates. And most of all, I’m afraid that the possibility the new power retracting from the cannonade of criticism, which the public delivers with the vigor of a dog released from its chain, and according to the principle "I don’t care who gets hurt", of which at least half is ungrounded hysteria: will these new libertarian authorities conclude that they overestimated democracy and put a stop to it?

According to me, the first example for it is this general hysteria directed to city mayors about the pollution in Skopje. The rigidity and conditioned indifference the public uses to call on Silegov and Zaev about the smog and PM particles is a good indication of how the public will generally respond to the program and the delivery of promises from the new government. First, it’s obvious that they will not have sympathy and understanding for inherited problems: the public just "doesn’t care" that the problem does not originate from the current set, nor have they the capacity to fully solve it during this mandate. Critics, most of whom are just those who supported the change of government, act indifferently: they are not interested in anything, they want a solution now and immediately. Certainly, part of the blame, and this not an insignificant part, comes from the city authorities themselves. In their final efforts to defeat VMRO-DPMNE, they filled their program with promises that demand not one, but three mandates, and now face the price of setting the public’s expectations too high. They hoped that they would be able to "reason" with the public later, after coming to power, or that the big project "life is coming" would be sufficient to provide them with an initial period of political upheaval. But, I repeat: people do not live in the big picture, but in their microcosm, and you cannot expect too much awareness about the "big project", while their children go to kindergarten with masks and cough every day. Additionally, the city authorities do not do anything, in a classic manner of communication amateurism, to deal with public criticism.

Guys from the city municipalities, the citizens want to have understanding and tolerance towards you, but your attitude doesn’t allow it at the moment. You have a passive-aggressive defensiveness, which makes the best-intentioned people lose their sympathy. Additionally, you are not angry with citizens because you are incapable to manage and solve a problem accumulated for decades in just three months, that's your faulty conclusion from which arises your defensive attitude. They are angry because you cannot do the things that you are able to do, however small and superficial they are. They compare you mentally with the previous administration, which would have had already implemented at least a dozen micro measures, which of course would have been meaningless, but would show a greater sense of humility to public criticism, awareness of who is the actual boss here. You obviously don’t have that.

The second indication of the general public state of mind is this non-critical hysteria about superficial problems that grow into main topic of the day exactly because of the fact the “coming of life” is interpreted by most as an invitation for “public counsellors”, or counseling the government from their homes, in their slippers, through Facebook, and “arrogant” calls for mobilization and public lynch. We see this phenomenon on daily basis: a group of self-appointed citizens with nothing better to do, who think that participating in some of the protests against the previous government gives them the right to criticize social situations, they are scandalized when their Facebook statuses don’t cause a social earthquake, because, you know – “Is this what we fought for”. And so, unable to face their own insignificance and their lack of basic knowledge of the difference between an elected official and a public critic or an expert, humiliated by the low ‘impact factor’ of their statuses, they make every marginal topic into hysteria of the day. This hysteria results in absurd situations: it turns out that the rights of stray dogs are now more important than the children that got bitten by them. Or, to make the irony even greater: why some radio station came up with a campaign for “too emancipated women”. Now they are demonizing the medium and demand punishment, up to the perversion that the result from this hysteria escalated in a female MP from VMRO-DPMNE defending the medium’s right to freedom of speech and the hate speech from the female MPs from the Colorful Revolution, who publicly applauded for its lynch. Well, if these are the main problems, and if these are the biggest offenders, let’s all pack our suitcases and leave. So, this means that the biggest megaphones of the previous government will switch sides and will be properly pardoned, while the impartial media that were impractical in their creativity will be sent to jail? If this was the lesson we learned from the Gruevism, we got it all wrong.

The biggest threat from this general hysteria is that it could cause a counter-reaction from the new government, in which it would face a binary option: if they conclude that the inclusivity and efficiency are mutually exclusive, they’d probably choose efficiency on account of inclusivity. And so, in a situation where Zaev is actually “blackmailed” for public support by his recent fellow fighters whom he didn’t hire, now it’s just a matter of time when he’d decide that there is too much participation that blocks him and reduce the openness and democracy.

If you ask me, democracy is either way messy, non-homogenous, sometimes even hysterical and illogical, but at the same time, still a better option than the alternative of a silenced public space due to populism or technocratic efficiency. However, I don’t know if the new government shares my opinion, and the dilemma is always terrifying.

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