Fire Marshalls

Another day, another election. This time for the provincial governments. It turned out well for what I will call the FFF Party (“Freedom from Foreigners”) with their anti-refugee, anti-asylum, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-EU platform. What are they for? Family and jobs, of course, as well as breathing in and out.

The party did particularly well in my province – provoking some great parody news articles like this one ( ) announcing that the rest of the country has decided to build a fence around us to protect themselves from the expected flood of refugees. And my own village was near the top in terms of FFF percentage points. Somewhat ironic considering that about 95% of the residents make their living from the tourists who come here.

I have to confess, I don’t really follow local or even national politics here closely,– even though I am a complete junkie when it comes to American politics. I rationalize my disinterest with the fact that, being a foreigner, I am not allowed to vote. But the truth of the matter is that I am a political observer and not at all an activist. In my entire life, I have only run for an elected position once.

It was my freshman year of university and it was a dormitory election. I lived in a house with two or three floors and about 10 or 12 rooms per floor. One day the posters started appearing: “”Vote for Kathy for Dorm President!!”” The posters were decorated with little flowers and smiley faces and included lists of the candidates’ qualifications: ““I was in my high school’’s student council! I am bright and cheerful! I can handle being popular!””  Some posters included serious platform proposals: ““New shower curtains! Popcornmaker for the common room!””

My roommate at the time was a high school friend and probably the one person in this world, after my sister, who has made me laugh most often. She and I started getting seriously amused as the election heated up and then one day she said, “”Hey! Look here! There is also a position called ‘’Fire Marshall’’ and no one is running for it. Let’s do it!”” So we made a poster saying “”Vote for (our names) for Fire Marshall!”” and decorated it with flowers and smiley faces. Underneath we wrote our qualifications: “”We don’t know what to do if there is a fire – but we’ll figure it out!”” And “”We have matching raincoats!”” And “”If this place burns, we’ll be the first ones out!””

I take no small pride in saying that -– despite having no opponents -– we lost that election. I doubt there are many people out there who could pull that off.


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