Role Models. Whereto?
I had this feeling that there is a common ground between politics, depression, democracy, and parenthood. Having brushed against all these topics recently, I was finally able to pinpoint the one thing connecting them all: It’s all about role models.
But let me start from the beginning and walk you through some real life situations.
1. A kid learning the truth about his parents: They are people too, they too make mistakes.
Being a kid is all nice until that very moment when you understand that not all questions can be answered by your parents. This moment can occur early on, but if you are more like me, you will truly understand this when you have passed puberty. I knew that my parents were limited when it came to science, but in my naivety, I believed they always held – the – answers. Sure, they’d be old-fashioned answers, but they’d still be answers. Even so, they’d point me in a direction, even if it’d be the exact opposite of what they indicated. Wrong! There is nothing more painful and more confusing than hearing your primary role models, the parents, talking about a topic and you realising they don’t make any sense.
2. Depression: The invisible illness that hits the sense of self.
I am no expert in depression, and if you do feel depressed, I strongly encourage you to find a specialist. In my own experience, of a mildly depressed person at times, I have realised that for depressed people, the daily environment can be quite toxic. Simply because it provides an ongoing list of standards. In most of the cases, those standard are fake, they reflect an ideal world. Hence, in that world, things look much better, more glamorous. Well, that is not really the kind of thing you want to see/hear when you think low of yourself. So yes, depression is about role models too. The references we measure our lives against can determine the way we feel.
3. Romania is facing a political crisis.
If you are Romanian, you know what this is about. If you are not, you might want to go back to January 2017. What the coalition government tried back then and failed, still crept its way into laws that butcher the justice system and basically make corruption legal. They have a few thorns in their side, one of them is the president. Right now, the coalition is concocting a way to suspend him.
I know, it sounds completely ludacris, but the coalition has quite a few supporters. Those are the uneducated, simple people, whose everyday jobs are to put bread on the table and not read political analyses. Those are the most susceptible. And those are the ones who are continuously brainwashed with cheap nationalist propaganda, just because they think they have nothing else to look up to.
4. The ongoing struggle to integrate immigrants in western societies: When democracy is misunderstood.
We all know it and tiptoe around it. Some immigrants are a problem for the EU. I am myself an immigrant and have been so for the most part of my adult life. While having this status, I have always tried to embrace the culture I lived in. So let me be clear: I have nothing against people of any color, religion, gender, etc, coming to any country. What I do have a problem with is feeling unsafe. I do have a problem with immigrants demanding rights to wear headpieces that would conceal their faces. When religion and tradition conspire to crimes, I do have a problem. One’s freedom should not harm the freedom of another. If it does, then you have to decide which role model you want to embrace. You can’t have the cake and eat it too.
All these situations come from our innate need to refer to a higher entity.
From our most intimate thoughts to our political options, we look up to authoritative figures to learn what to do and what not to do, what is good, what is bad. It is our instinct to compare ourselves with the strongest most potent member of the community. Sure, it starts with parents and suppose we have come across well from that, it moves to our friends, our bosses, or social/political figures. When that comparison leaves us short, we again become depressed and disintegrate under the pressure of success: what does he/she have and I don’t.
Role models in communist Romania.
I grew up under the distinct shadow of communism and even it’s supposedly been gone for more than a quarter of a century, it’s spirit still lingers. I found it in the perplexing god complex that teachers, as well as parents, have it. They knew everything while I didn’t know shit. Why should I? I was just a kid. I find it still in the indolence some have about politics, civics or even mental health.
Role models in the western society.
On a more international scale, the role model problem is misunderstood as well. We take pride in democracy. We believe it is the only sane way of governing a country. The umbrella is meant to cover everybody, every opinion. Democracy has become synonym with the freedom to be who you want to be. But what is left of this freedom when it’s being forced to swallow the most restrictive civilisations? Let me put it this way: if you admire a nicely decorated house, why do you feel the need to paint it all blue, just because you like that color?
Democracy in itself is a role model and it is based on acceptance and respect.
But like the role models above, it has its limits. There are ends to which this model shouldn’t be pushed, because then it mutates and, as we have seen, it endangers the very people it wants to protect.
It should be mandatory in school to teach kids to question everything.
First question the teacher, then the parents, then the government, then religion, then the skeleton look-a-like diva who feeds you bullshit about a healthy lifestyle on Facebook. There shouldn’t be any stone left unturned, and questions labeled ‘uncomfortable’.