Monday, February 19, 2018

#50 / Dance Of The Peacock

Viktor Orbán is the guy on the far right in the photo, who is walking along with Putin
On Sunday, February 11, 2018, The New York Times ran an informative article on the success that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has had in turning what used to be a liberal democracy into something much more autocratic. Orbán called the process, in which he has managed to disguise what is actually happening, the "Dance of the Peacock."

I am referencing this article, which is interesting in and of itself, for one reason only. I want to comment on a remark made by Jarosław Kaczyński, who is quoted in the article. Kaczyński is the leader of Poland's right-wing, populist Law and Justice Party, and here is what he has said about the "Dance of the Peacock":

Viktor Orbán has demonstrated that in Europe things are possible... 

"Things," indeed, are "possible." And by "things," I mean ALL things. Good things. Bad things. In the human world, which is a world we create ourselves, and which is, uniquely, a "political world," anything is possible

When I was growing up, my father taught me that lesson: Anything Is Possible! He had to drum it into me, because I am by nature (or was), someone who always said, "I can't do it." That pretty much infuriated my Dad, whose personal life exemplified how wrong it would be ever to entertain the "I can't do it" hypothesis. As reported in this blog way back on March 10, 2010, in a posting alerting readers to the very small, but very important book, As A Man Thinketh, by James Allen, the key to success is believing in possibility. That is true, I think, both individually and collectively. 

My father summarized the book for me in this way, in his inscription: "If you don't have a dream, Gary, you can't have a dream come true."

I definitely learned that lesson, which has profoundly shaped my personal life. I like to think that my father's lesson has also had an impact on the history of Santa Cruz County, which, collectively, has believed that things don't have to just "happen to us," but that we can make things happen the way we want them to.

As I studied history as an undergraduate at Stanford, I saw the larger scale impacts of the "anything is possible" truth. I also discovered, as I learned about the Holocaust, that nightmares, too, can come to pass; not just dreams.

"Things" are possible. Good things. And Bad things.

Those who hope for a better world (a democratic world, I'd like to say) had better take this lesson to heart, and seize the high ground. There are lots of people out there who would like to dance into reality the kind of government that Jarosław Kaczyński and Viktor Orbán are seeking to create. We have some of those kind of folks rather close to home. 

We need to remember that nightmares, not just dreams, can come true. That's  danger. It could happen here.

But... I'm betting on the dreamers!

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