Decisions, decisions. My self-imposed hour as a populist begins. First I have to decide what I am going to oppose. A populist is expected to oppose something vehemently.
Preferably something that many others support. Said supporters are called “the elite”, if they have made it to the decision-making level. For us populists “the elite” is a dirty word.
The elite are “the elite” because they decide in a way that we oppose. In fact they are “the elite” because we oppose them. Are you still with me? I am new at this populism thing, but I think I am getting the hang of it. If you are against me, and have some power, you are “the elite”. Simple isn’t it?
It’s funny how the same word can have two so different meanings. If we were discussing education, sports, the police force, or the army, being part of the elite would be a great thing. It would mean that you are the cream of the cream, the one who did what everyone else did, only better.
But because we are talking about those who oppose my views, they become a nasty elite by definition.
So what should I oppose today? Why not the populist elite in countries near and dear to me? The populists have their own elite, and in many cases it’s as corrupt as it can get. Yet they dare paint themselves as the better people, and rage against “the elite” in general.
I am really getting into this. As a populist I should use simple language, repeat the message several times, and above all make people feel the need to join me in my opposition.
Let’s have a look at a few of the populists presently fighting “the elite”, while wishing for nothing more than to become the elite themselves.
Take Michael Flynn, Trump’s former adviser, or French presidential candidate Marine le Pen. I pick them as examples to make my task easy. They have discredited themselves so thoroughly that I won’t even have to resort to when I oppose them. I will top my selection with Dutch Geert Wilders for good measure.
To refresh your memory, let’s run through some of the reasons why these three ended up on my list. Not that I need to provide any reasons, now that I am a populist. It’s really a bad habit, a remnant from my life before populism.
So how did Flynn oppose the elite, and aid Trump in cleaning up the swamp? By representing Turkish interests for a sizeable fee and cosying up to the Russians – and conveniently forgetting all about it. Until he was found out. Do you smell something bad?
What about Marine le Pen? The EU parliament just stripped her of her parliamentary immunity. She now faces investigation and probable prosecution for posting violent images, and is under scrutiny for misuse of EU funds. Not only is she friendly with the Russians, her National Front party has taken a large loan from them. This is not vodka we are smelling, it is something worse.
Finally we have Geert Wilders. Funny how things keep going round and round. Like the two others he is deeply anti-Islam. So much so that his Freedom Party has received funding from American anti-Islam groups.
All three are bigots of the highest order. All three love to quote state-owned Russian media outlets like RT and Sputnik. The smell is getting unbearable.
Who in their right mind would consider these people fit to replace anyone in any government? I repeat, who in their right mind would consider these people fit to replace anyone in any government? The same goes for anyone associated with them. They have no place near any government.
See, I am a natural at populism. I have this oppose and repeat thing all pat by now.
I skipped all British examples, because I prefer to close my eyes and forget about the Brits. They allowed the populist elite to make Britain’s bed; they can now lie there for all I care. I’m in my populist mode. I don’t forgive and forget. Compromise and reconciliation have no room in my vocabulary.
You may have noted that I have omitted the names of a few prominent populists. I refer to the guys who star in a reality show that I sometimes blog about.
It’s my populist strategy 2.o: Ignore the populist elite to oblivion. It’s designed to work on the most hardened populists. Nothing hurts as much as being ignored, when you thrive on controversy and attention, as these guys do. So no, their names will not be mentioned.
I almost skipped the Finnish populists too. Even at their worst, they are beginners compared to my examples above. But their actions highlight the need to be specific.
Party leader contender Jussi Halla-aho referred to “the elite”, when he criticised the leaders of his own, populist Finns Party. Contrary to Halla-aho, my goal is not to replace the populist elite with others even farther right.
My goal is to pick them out of the strawberry field for good .
Okay, so we have covered my opposition of the populist elite, but what’s all this strawberry talk?
Hating the populist elite is too populist for me. I don’t do hate and fear, not even for this experiment. I will, however, confess to extreme distaste. Which is how strawberries came to mind.
My feelings for the populist elite can best be compared to the feeling of distaste I experience, when I find a half-rotten strawberry among the fresh strawberries I just topped my morning yoghurt with.
If you are into strawberries, you know the feeling. All is fine at first glance, but then you taste something rotten, and upon further scrutiny you find many dark spots on one or more strawberries.
It totally ruins the experience. You start checking all the other strawberries. Have they gone bad too? The happy morning moment is gone. The world suddenly feels unsafe, when a bad strawberry can so easily launch such an underhanded attack on you.
For me strawberries are a symbol of all that is good in the world. I spent many a happy summer out in the Finnish archipelago, with my brother and my cousins, picking strawberries for our grandmother. She grew the strawberries for sale, but there was always plenty left over for all of us.
I was taught the importance of getting rid of bad strawberries early on. Not a one was allowed among the good ones on my grandmother’s watch. It will not happen on my watch either.
The populist elite are like the half-rotten strawberries. They need to be picked out of the mix before they get all moldy. We all know how easily mold spreads.
No need to hate them, just make sure they don’t ruin perfectly good strawberries. Soft ridicule should do the trick. They won’t know what hit them.
My stint as a populist is short, so I have to make every minute count. I am launching a strawberry revolution on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere on the Internet, where populists are active.
Since I have no social media accounts, I am counting on you, dear readers, to do the legwork. That seems to be the way it’s done in the populist world. So spread the word.
Join me in opposing alt-right, far-right, and other extremist populists around the world. Go strawberry. Fill populist sites with virtual strawberries, to remind everyone that rotten strawberries should not be tolerated.
Do it wherever populists spread aggressive agendas. Remember to use only good strawberries. We don’t deal in rotten ones, they do. There are great strawberry emojis out there. Let them fly.
Don’t meet rage and hate with more of the same. Let the strawberry speak for you. Make the strawberry great again.
My hour as a populist is over, it is now all in your hands. I didn’t even have time to order a hat or a T-shirt with my “Go strawberry ” slogan.
Note how I managed to repeat the slogan for you. I have clearly found my inner populist.