I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.
If some scholars sound the alarm bells that democracy in the United States could turn into a right-wing dictatorship that has the potential of sparking a civil war. How should Finland prepare for such an eventuality?
Writes Thomas Homer-Dixon, a Canadian political scientist, in an Op-Ed: “By 2025, American democracy could collapse, causing extreme domestic political instability, including widespread civil violence. By 2030, if not sooner, the country could be governed by a right-wing dictatorship.”
The European think tank, among others, label the United States as a “backsliding democracy” in a new report.
While former US President Donald Trump has spread the big lie about the 2020 election that has turned the Republican Party into a personality cult, it is a different story in Finland even if the threat is the same.
While it should be clear that a party like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, which is eager to strip minorities of their human rights and relegate them to second- or third-class citizens, the party is the best example of Trumpism in Finland.
The PS has not made its admiration for Trump a secret. Former PS leader Jussi Halla-aho – like other PS politicians – do not hold back their admiration for Trump and his racist and autocratic political message.
While the PS is one of the main culprits for pushing the big lie in Finland, we should not forget its enablers.
If we go back before the 2011 parliamentary election when the PS won 39 seats from five previously, we see how the new party on the block attracted was initially welcomed by so much awe, even admiration.
The Finnish media’s treatment of the PS back then was one of the main factors that gave the far-right party a platform for its 2011 election victory. The silence and parroting of the PS’ anti-immigration message by the Social Democrats, the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), and others played an equally important role.
Today, the most significant enablers of the PS are social media, national media, Kokoomus, Christian Democrats, and Movement Now. Even so, the biggest facilitators continue to be downplaying, denial and exceptionalism.
Those who deny that the PS is a threat to our democracy and way of life should ask which groups are next on the far-right party’s hit list. Defenders of our social welfare system? Leftists? Human rights activists? Feminists? Sexual minorities? Liberals?
The 2023 parliamentary election will be one of the most important concerning our democracy. It is clear that if Kokoomus and the PS emerge as the victors, we could see the increase of domestic political instability, polarization, and far-right terrorism as our social welfare system and democracy are dismantled.
An indication that our democracy is in peril is how little attention we pay today to the threats that leave our future to chance.