Today I went to vote in the Finnish parliament elections. Just as last time, in the municipality elections, I had a companion. This companion was not my husband and I'll return to that in a second.
My companion was my daughter. She likes to go to the nearby school with me, wait outside the booth and then off to play in the school yard.
The other day I was thinking about this. When I was little, I remember how I used to go to the yellow school on the other side of the big road together with my parents on election day. My brother and I played in the school yard while my parents were voting. Then we had coffee and some election-buns. Special moments. Days I truely remember from my childhood.
Now, returning to my husband and his absence at the election booths. Well, first of all, this was parliament election so my Chilean husband was not even eligeble to vote. But in all other elections, here and in Chile, I have never seen him close to the election stands. He is not politically active, in Chile not even registered and the election slip for municipality elections that he receives here in Finland is waste paper. So the other day I started to think... what if his complete indifference to voting is that when he was a child, he never had the opportunity to play outside the election place while his parents were voting. He grew up in a country with the lid on all political discussions. And all those of his generation that never found it important to register to vote... can there be a a connection there?
Well, I do not know about that but even if there would be a minimal chance of cause and effect I am not willing to take a chance with the new generation. My kids will be going with me to vote everytime there is a chance, until they can vote themselves, both in Finland and in Chile.
The Finnish election results are coming in as I write. I am devasted about the populist movement gaining two digits since last elections. I am truly worried, both about my own status as part of the Swedish speaking minority in this country and about all foreigners status living here! We need less populism and more reality! And we cannot wait until the next generation...