Each time there is a cantonal election in Geneva I am pleased and astonished at the system. It works. Ballots are sent out on time and eligible citizens can vote by mail, electronically or in person. Like a reputable Swiss watch, everything worked again this time. There were only minor complaints of irregularities. (I am still traumatized from the 2000 Bush vs. Gore Florida recount.) All this confirms Switzerland’s recognized position as an exemplary democracy.
“It’s all your fault,” the Generation X 43-year-old scolded as she pointed her finger at me. “Holes in the ozone level, a crappy housing market, job insecurity, expensive college tuition, income inequality, lack of universal health care, derisory minimum wage, global insecurity, wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, environmental degradation. And Harvey Weinstein.” She paused to catch her breath. She was just warming up. To her, the Baby Boomer generation, my generation, was the root cause of most, if not all, of the world’s problems.
Newspaper front pages are showing pictures of a royal baby and preparation for a royal wedding in one of the world’s oldest democracies while pertinent questions are being raised about the decline of democracy in Poland, Hungary, Austria and other countries. Why are people so fascinated by the birth of Louis Arthur and the marriage of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in Great Britain at the same time we bemoan the rise of autocratic rule around the world?
Is there a relationship between fascination with royalty and the decline of democracy?
(Full disclosure: I have not been invited to the royal wedding or reception.)
In times of rapid change, what was true yesterday is not necessarily true today. For example, the leader of North Korea has threatened to wipe out Seoul and reduce it to rubble while the government of South Korea has confirmed it has a plan to assassinate President Kim Jong-un. Nonetheless, on April 26, 2018, amid lingering handshakes and embraces, the leaders of North and South Korea promised to establish “lasting peace” by formally ending the Korean War of 1950-53 which divided the peninsula 65 years ago.