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The joy of voting (Groundhog Day)

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The joy of voting (Groundhog Day)

Santiago Roldós

Guayaquil, Ecuador

“I’m going to choose between the bad and the worst.”
Antonio Aguirre

I have been trying to write something that contributes to the debate in today’s Ecuador for two weeks. But in Ecuador the debate, at least the public and the macro-political one, practically does not exist.

They showed it to us on national television, both the finalists of the second round and the same “committee of experts” that prepared a metaphysical, technocratic and apolitical questionnaire.

That said committee believed itself in London, with the one that is falling here on the way back, confirms the empire in our country of ignominy, etymologically: the loss of one’s own name.

Here, choice implies nausea; democracy, mandatory suffrage; politics, stock and testicle markets; and justice, blackmail, scam, mafia arbitrage, pissing in the face, shitting on your dead.

This is what we call “institutional crisis.”

That is why a “right-wing” friend – he perceives himself as being in the center, but your ideology will be determined by your opposite – affirms that more important than the election of president will be the election of comptroller.

And another friend, a social democrat despite himself – he always dreamed of being a revolutionary – classifies his left-wing friends into two categories: those who would have him shot, and those who would not.

Such wisdom is endorsed by distant stories such as that of Meyerhold, a theatrical hero of the October Revolution murdered by Bolshevik comrades, converted into Stalin’s servile bureaucrats.

Or close ones, like that of the anti-imperialist Noam Chomsky advising 21st century satraps so that they do not affect the interests of the military, in exchange for staying in power.

Thus, after the failure of the “Real Politik” and the monstrosities engendered by utopias, we will have to choose to prioritize affection, care and decency.

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Not the decency of any candidate, non-existent not only in this race, but the decency of the actions themselves.

What a word loaded with shitty and moral stories, for feminism, epic theater or counter culture: decency. It rhymes with survival, lack and obsolescence.

Why was that almost bad word presented to me in the internal debate (the one that exists every second in our jurisdiction) about how to vote in the recurring nightmare of the second round?

Like all other words and things, it turns out that “decency” is a rather polysemic term, and therefore problematic and generous, that is, ambiguous.

Among other meanings and signifiers, decency is associated with general cleanliness, physical and moral composure, and the adornment corresponding to each person or thing.

In its second meaning, it seems to imply a unit or set of virtues: modesty, honesty and modesty (hell, with two out of three you can’t consider yourself decent?).

And, finally, always according to the conservative RAE, decency implies dignity in actions and words, according to the state or quality of people and things.

I like that last one, because it is pragmatic, because it is closer to ethics.

It is also related to the etymological root, pardon the redundancy, of the Latin word decet, linked to the qualities of “appropriate” and “convenient”, which can feel good.

Such is my beginning of response to the flood of WhatsApp messages from left-wing friends without guns asking me early on: “Have you already decided how you will vote tomorrow?”

Well yes. Debating between two indecencies.

The ideal decency of the null vote, compared to the material and concrete decency of defending democracy, although moribund and formal, but above all the preservation of the lives of loved ones, not only close ones, threatened by the Correa cartel.

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Friends from outside and former friends from within may not be able to understand this, because according to me they have a veil in their eyes: the veil of discourse, the veil of faith, the veil of binary, the veil of History understood as a war bipolar where it is impossible for Daniel Ortega or Rafael Correa to perform functions similar to those of the Condor Plan in the 70s.

Perhaps at this point Hannah Arendt’s response to critical Jewish intellectuals for their supposed lack of understanding of the motives of the State of Israel is relevant: “In this you are completely right: the injustice committed by my own people certainly upsets me more than the injustice committed by other peoples.”

More prosaically, let us document our electoral mood with the testimony of a taxi driver, a popular voter of “the worst”; and that of a teacher, an intellectual middle-class voter of “the bad”.

“I am going to vote for Luisa because if it is true that this man (Correa) made an agreement with the mafias, then what is best for us is for him to return so that the violence decreases.”

“I think that the cardboard (Noboa) is going to leave when his term ends, no one removes the others and they really like revenge, persecuting people, evicting, repressing and squandering IESS money.”

If joy traditionally appears impossible before elections, let us at least have the courage of coherence with our forced tragedy and ignominy, offering resistance and maturity to the extent possible.

I want to believe that the majority of people who will vote for Luisa are not aware of her contribution to the persecution and the guillotine.

Nothing to complain to those who cancel. If anything, tell them, without irony and with affection: I envy your privilege.

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If Daniel Noboa were to triumph, it would be vital that, unlike Lasso, and for his own good and that of the country, he never forgot that we did not vote for him, but against the powerful cartel that unites the other cartels. Such is our absurdity.

Photograph provided by the National Electoral Council of the presidential candidate of the Citizen Revolution movement, Luisa González (d), next to candidate Daniel Noboa (i) during the presidential debate at the Ecuador TV facilities, today in Quito.

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