The top guy in our local chapter of the Freedom Party came by today and gave us this Easter egg. Of course it is blue – the party’s color. How nice. Maybe I’ll vote for them after all. Oh wait – I’m not allowed to vote. I’m a foreigner.
To be precise, they aren’t really the Freedom Party (“Freiheit”), but the Freedom-like or Freedom-ish Party (“freiheitlich”) – which always makes me think of Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness”. And like all political parties claiming to be freedomish, their definition of that term is hard to discern. It’s clear what they want freedom FROM: from government and regulation, from conservatives and socialists, from the EU and political correctness, and, of course, freedom from foreigners. The freedoms TO . . . do whatever . . . are much less clear. What would actually be freer if they got into power – I mean, beyond cigarette lighters in election season and blue eggs in March?
The last election to happen while I was still teaching university students was for the European Union Parliament back in 2009. We discussed the platforms of all the parties, with the freedomish one providing some comic relief – literally! Part of their campaign came in the form of a comic book distributed throughout the country. It was all about the heroic acts of their national leader, HC Strache with his bluest of eyes. Here’s a little taste:
More recently and locally, this same party got almost a third of the votes in my little village last year with their campaign slogans “Foreigner in your own country?” and “YOUR chance for REVENGE!” The posters shouting out these words also featured pictures of local party members, including the bearer of today’s blue egg. He is actually one of my nearest neighbors. He owned the gas station and restaurant at the bottom of our hill. Despite his retiring recently, this restaurant is still the favorite hangout of the village’s freedomish people.
And we all just got new neighbors. 100 meters uphill from the restaurant, an old Bed & Breakfast was renovated to house 30 refugees – all young men from various nations. Separated only by a meadow and a small stream, those two houses can now spend all day pondering one another. I wonder if the refugees – actually, we call them “migrants” now – got blue eggs today too?