I may be political-minded, but I’m not the type to ever enter politics. So writing a politician is as close as I’m likely to get. And gosh, it was an experience.
This latest chapter took forever to write, mostly because of its speech. To put myself in Konstantin’s shoes, pulling hairs left and right in trying to figure out how to arouse an uneducated crowd, appeal to their emotions, and draw them into his vision… I lost count of how many drafts I went through before arriving at something I was happy with.
And wow, did that draft stink of hypocrisy.
I guess that’s what makes it realistic, when I think about modern politics.
The Polisian Federation in the Hyperion setting is based on the Kievan Rus of Earth history, which is recognized as the first and original Russian state. The Ted-Ed presentation summarizes it best: the Russians were “populated by Slavs, ruled by Vikings, taught by Greeks, (and split by Mongols)”. This turned Russia into a rather unique entity in our history, one that has multiculturalism built into its foundation and core identity. It translates into a fairly Xenophilic set of values, and I was amazed when I first found out that even back when the Tsars ruled, Russia routinely had minorities of non-Russian (and non-Caucasian) ethnicity climb to the height of power.
It really stressed upon the fact that Russia wasn’t merely a European country — because other European nations of the era were all about white supremacy.
Using such a source as inspiration, it meant that Polisia also had multiculturalism and xenophilia established as central pillars of its culture. But how does one rally such a view towards national unity? When a country must band together to meet internal challenges and repel external foes, claiming “we’re multicultural!” isn’t going to draw much support.
Thus, I find myself being forced to cash in on Xenophobia, even for a society with a Xenophilic background. To stress upon differences and play up fear, to create foreign caricatures and beat them up as straw men. This was far more effective at gathering political support than any list of logical arguments.
I’ve tried to take the alternative. But… what does the average peasant know about laws and reforms? What do they care about how trade and courts operate? The battle of political powers was meaningless to them. All their want is a stable lifestyle and financial (food) security for their families.
It’s just one of those experience that really makes me realize…
No wonder why politicians always play the Xenophobia card whenever the going gets tough. To blame others, to stir up controversies, to make unfounded accusations. It’s not that they’re (all) terrible people, or that they necessarily even believe in what they’re saying.
It’s just too darn effective.
It reminds me of one of the conclusions made by Legends of the Galactic Heroes: the greatest advantage that Democracy has over Autocracy, was that it puts ultimate responsibility in the hands of the people. Both systems are capable of success. However, only in the failure of a Democracy, do the people have no one but themselves to blame.
There is, however, one problem with that conclusion.
It is untrue.
People will do anything to avoid blaming themselves. They’ll insist they’ve been mislead, hoodwinked, even though they were staring at the truth all along.Author's Comment
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