Starting from today, 26.5.2021, is possible to vote in the municipal elections in Finland. I am also not the one who closely observes what is going on in my municipality, but I went to vote in the morning. I strongly recommend you do the same.
Helsinki Sanomat made a pool on the voting preferences of more than 2.400 people between 15.3.2021-9.4.2021. The primary focus was how they would vote in parliamentary elections, but results can give us a good overview of the moods before the municipality elections. Finns party is on the rise and they might celebrate a victory… I can say, Finns party is full of hopes that people voting in municipalities would address those moods in their voting preferences.
Close to the street where I live is a poster stating something like Finland back to Finns. Well, honestly, I don’t have a feeling, Finland is ruled over by some foreign powers, but I got the message. I know, we are not welcomed by many. It is the same in my home country. Moods and strong expressions on immigrants and immigration are trendy and they bring the votes. I know many racists and misogynists are living everywhere. We have a proverb in Slovak: “Shirt is closer than a jacket.” It’s valid everywhere. We have tendencies to prefer what we know and to assign greater values and characteristics towards people or phenomenons that are the same or similar to us. This is a simple evolutionary fact when everything unknown was seen as a potential danger. Our brain can still activate these parts. This is where we start to think from the perspective of tribalism, stereotypes and combat readiness.
But the truth is every European country needs immigrants. Mostly to secure our social security systems and to fill vacancies that native-born people don’t want to do anymore. Instead of competition between countries in a term of the best possible environments and opportunities for immigrants, nationalists are fighting against something unstoppable.
Municipality elections are not about such “big” politics. But still, municipalities are responsible for so many important things, such as services for residents or construction plans. Something that has a much closer impact on our lives at the particular place. But the moods are here and people might not vote from the perspective of the municipality, but what they see as a threat on a more national level.
I am not saying these elections are for or against immigration. But still, I want to have in the local government somebody who shares the same values as mine, regardless of the language we speak or the country we were born in. Equality, social justice and ecology on a local level has the same importance as on a national level. So, me and my husband, we both voted for representatives of Tuusulan Vihreät.
I hope Tuusula will start to use selkosuomi in their services and transfer web pages into this simplified Finnish as well. Despite some good ideas, we can hardly speak about diversity and inclusion here. I would have so many suggestions when it comes for example to schools or daycare centres on how they can be more welcoming and ready to accept any sort of difference.
If you don’t want to be left out, you have to become a part of the solutions. The minimum you can do is to choose the best possible representatives. Go and vote 🙂