Pavel Telička’s Czech Pre-Election Manifesto
Dear fellow citizens,
The forthcoming elections can significantly influence the future of our country and hence all of us for a long time.
Therefore, we should be mindful when deciding who gets our vote. Let’s be courageous and let’s not allow ourselves to get caught up in the promises of easy, simple solutions of politicians pursuing their own particular goals.
European Union is having problems in some areas. We cannot solve the migration crisis as fast and as effectively as we would like. The impact of globalization and other dramatic changes has millions of people in our country and elsewhere in the world feeling vulnerable. In this situation, we have two options: try to stop and reverse these changes, or take advantage of this situation and boost Czech Republic in the changing world.
The first option, however, is only an illusion. People who tell us they can put the world ‘back in order’ are lying. It is not possible, as it was not possible in the past. Many people have believed similar promises, without it bringing the desired outcomes, only problems. Czech Republic can try to stand up to these changes. We can isolate ourselves, close the borders, close the country off, let populists influence public opinion, break down dependable ties, or even leave the EU and from NATO and pretend that the world around us does not concern us.
Politicians that have written this on their election posters, however, will not tell you what this would mean. Not only would the unemployment rate dramatically increase because foreign investors in Czech Republic would reduce their activities, we would also lose influence and the possibility of decision-making in the issues that have an impact on us. With all of this, prices would increase as we would leave the European market and access to the EU market would be more expensive.
We would become a backward country. We would lag behind in science, research, education and technology, which will be the basis for competitiveness and prosperity. We would be under the direct influence of forces that seek something quite different from peace and prosperity. The allies we can rely on would no longer be there.
However, we have another option as well. We can stop feeling sorry for ourselves, saying how everyone is not understanding us or trying to hurt us. Migration, globalization, and other problems will not be solved by a sole country, not even China or USA. And closed borders are also not a solution. That is why it is essential for us, to make our opinions in the EU heard, so we can have an even bigger influence in the future. If it is working for the Danes and the Dutch, it must work for us as well. From my own experience, I can say that it is not some utopia. All that is needed is confidence, hard work, and mindfulness toward others.
Thirteen years ago, we joined the European Union. Most of us were expecting that the membership in the EU would bring security, and prosperity. Many changes have occurred and the EU has made many mistakes, but it has fulfilled our basic expectations because it works well in most areas and we benefit from it. I would not want to live the moment, when we panic so much that we decide to leave it.
Perhaps, the elections will not change the direction our country is heading. Perhaps, the politicians who are making you promises with populism and nationalism will change their opinions after the election. In any case, it is a dangerous game that we are already paying for and can pay for much more in the future.
Therefore, let us not risk and opt for irresponsible populists, nationalists, isolationists, and empty politicians looking only for power. Let us give the mandate to someone who is striving for active, constructive, reforming and conceptual politics in the Czech Republic and in Europe. Let us give a vote to those for which the EU is not just a ball that must be kicked at all costs, even if it leads to an own goal. Reject cheap slogans that are used to gain only short-term political interest and consider that a vote for these political parties and movements will only lead to fragmentation of the political spectrum, as many of them have meagre coalition potential.
This is my first contribution to the elections awaiting us. I am going to be even more focused on the presidential election. I hope that there will be a lot of us.
I would like to wish you courage and good luck for the elections.