Just few days before elections in France, fear takes over emotions with the terrorist attack in Paris. Firstly and foremost, even if DAESH has claimed the attack, it was a single and individual act not planned within the “strategy of DAESH” (so-called ISIS). As terrorist group, they claim every thing that creates fear and blood, to give the impression to be omnipresent and unpredictable.
In any case, what happened in Paris will inevitably call to the polls more citizens to vote, to claim more security policies and, perhaps, to vote for the populist candidates. Yes, the populist ones because they create their electoral consensus through the fears of citizens. In a first place they create the fears and then they promise to find the solution for that, aware that their policies will polarize the society rather than creating inclusive policies for a multicultural society. Populist leaders promise any kind of thing with the clear intention to reassure the citizens that are feeling exposed to risks. The over-promising will be the first disappointment once those leaders are elected and people will realize that fears could have been dealt in a different way.
Even Pope Francis warned the world to be attentive towards populism because this may lead to new “Adolf Hitler” in power. He was a populistic leader polarising the society against diversity. His exclusive society (exclusive in terms of it was excluding the others) lead Europe and the world in the second world war.
You may think that those high level declarations do not affect the day-to-day life. This is wrong. When I was a young student and moved to Rome to study at the university, I lived in a very fancy building, sharing the apartment with other students. It was the only flat with students and, every thing going wrong in the building or the yard, it was claimed by the building administrator to be “students’ fault”. Plants in the yard were dying? It is because of the students. When a big immigrants wave arrived in town, also renting flats in the same building, we students were relieved from any fault and the immigrants became the new “guilty ones” of everything wrong in the building, the new people to blame.
When going to the electoral polls please remember that populism is the fuse of the terrorism. Not just the so called Islamic terrorism but any kind. Populist policies will exclude minorities, will exclude the weak parts of the society creating other kind of extremism on the other side.
You can defeat your fears with inclusive society that does not leave anyone behind. Fight populism as you would fight ignorance.