Pilate’s legacy or post-pandemic effect, hand-washing has become a general way out. We arrived at this last week navigating between tweets and speeches of false champions of the good, and the commandments of politics became adjustable to the convenience of the offender and the offended of the day. In this wave of moral supremacy – apocryphal and desperate – every stigma against those who think differently contributes to the purpose of stirring up the lion’s den, and thus shielding the worst possibility: that everything stays the same.

What an attrition this first round! There is an abundance of opportunistic redeemers, transhumants and aggressors, and supposed experts who look for the dead upstream, to point out from their rostrum the mistakes of others and almost never recognise their own. Who will give the principle of reality to so many wise men? While self-criticism and empathy have been absent from almost all the campaigns, the president walks around Europe, the Gulf Clan thinks it owns the country, violence and threats paralyse entire villages, and social leaders, indigenous people and peace signatories continue to be assassinated as if they were clay dolls and not real lives.

And let’s not even talk about Petro’s warnings in Barranquilla. I hope I am wrong, but with this government “think wrong and you will be right”. The most violent elections in 10 years (according to the Electoral Observation Mission) and 29 murders in two months are not despicable data. It is despicable that while all this is going on, the government continues on autopilot in indifference mode. Not to put too fine a point on it: many are afraid of a left-wing government because they feel their economic prosperity, private enterprise or banking as we know it threatened… but what is really serious is that a left-wing victory could leave some who have gone to great lengths to evade justice at high risk of losing their freedom. And these are major fears.

After Duque, anyone thinks they are capable of governing Colombia. The bar has been set very low! But that’s the way it is. And imperfect democracy continues to be our only chance of salvation. Our only option to put a stop to the fire; a stop to the insensitivity that rains down from the State downwards and to the inequity that multiplies, because it hurts too many, moves too few and many don’t even care. Democracy is still the only logical option to have rulers who will one day take seriously the protection, respect and dignity of the citizenry. Now, for the miracle to happen, the reins of power must be an honourable commitment, not the result of buying and selling egos. Power must be a tool to serve the people, not the other way around. At this point and time, what depends on us is that on Sunday we vote with consciousness, not for what the tamed shrew in us dictates, but for what the best version of ourselves tells us. The duty of citizenship is not just to vote. It is to vote with independence and honesty, with social intelligence, with sensitivity, as if Colombia really mattered to us beyond our own walled-in well-being.

Rather, what I am asking of you and asking of myself is that we do not outgrow democracy, because if we do not, we will continue to outgrow history.

And speaking of history, if you haven’t already done so, please read Cecilia Orozco’s interview with Gonzalo Sánchez. It appeared on Sunday 22 May, in El Espectador. Masterful.

The original article can be found here