In a small book, which is strictly speaking a fairly long interview, entitled Kissinger on Kissinger, the almost hundred-year-old statesman seems to conclude, responding to his interlocutors, that the art of politics consists in finding a haven of optimization between what is fair and what is possible. Between what we consider our principles, and the uncertain possibility of applying them, limited by our own disabilities, by the behavior of others and by circumstances.
In something as simple as entertainment, we opted for the least bad film: we know that it does not convince us, that it is hackneyed, with common places and layered characters, but there is nothing better to see. The others are even worse. By paying our attention as viewers to a product that is below our expectations, we somehow encourage its repetition, surrendering to a proposal, perhaps valued by many others, but not by us. And yet, I repeat, we prefer that dissatisfaction to nothing. It is an innocuous example in which our principles are violated by our immediate needs.
In electoral politics this crossroads has a remanufactured application in the option for the least bad candidate. Even when there is a candidate of my choice, I will vote for the one who drives away nightmares, rather than the one who proposes a dream of improbable fulfillment. But since March 2020, in Argentina, when the draconian restrictions on circulation, work, recreation began to be applied, and very especially, when the government of Alberto Fernandez applied the nefarious plan of complete interruption and for an indeterminate time -more than one school year- of face-to-face education (in most Argentine homes, the only effective one), our perception of an existence in society that is governed by the premise of living between what is fair and what is possible he suffered an irreparable shock.
It was no longer a government that promised to reactivate the economy and sank it to the unspeakable, nor that it proposed to distribute the wealth and pall for the corrupt and exhibited millionaire pensions for the vice president, while punishing the lowest social security echelons; but inaugurated unimaginable ways of breaking the social contract. They began with the theft of vaccines, a dispossession that the President defined as a “non-crime”, since, he explained, sneaking into the line to steal the vaccine from whoever was called out of necessity and in turn was not classified as such, while he insulted those who wanted to visit his dying father.
Either he imprisoned people for having gone to buy victuals, or he threatened to confiscate cars from those who needed to use them for inescapable reasons. That kind of pharaonic behavior, on the part of a president, towards citizens who elected him and those who did not, in contrast to the discovery that in privacy he did not comply with any of the unusual rules that he ruthlessly imposed on us, and not only did he not fulfill them, but he transgressed them with treachery, in company, festively, joyfully, he would have merited, in many other historical and geographical settings, a resignation from his position. It did not happen.
And the citizens, defrauded, depleted, ruined, lost jobs and education, nevertheless we abided by the norm of coexistence in which we channeled ourselves since 1983: resolve this brutal nonsense within the institutional framework. But never, as in these two years, was the rope tightened between an elected leadership that carried out irrational and authoritarian measures against a disconcerted population, and more than fifty percent of Argentines, in express dissidence with this brazen power, choosing patience anyway. to modify the disaster through constitutional mechanisms.
Of all the times that Argentine democracy has been put to the test since 1983, this has been, by duration and suffering, one of the most memorable. The astracanadas of Rico and Seineldín shocked us: but we trusted the elected leadership and the resolution was reasonably successful (between fair and possible); 2001, of which these days it was 20 years, had a temporary epicenter of chaos, and then resumed a calm shared ascent.
But this biennium with a National Treasury Attorney, Carlos Zannini, stealing vaccines with the presidential complicity, while tens of thousands of Argentines died due to lack of access to those same vaccines, and the President celebrating in the residence of Olivos, indifferent to a people in mourning, it is not easy to classify in our disastrous calendar politician. Maximum Kirchner he delivered a speech in the National Congress accusing legislators who were trying to buy desperately needed vaccines of “giving in to the whims of foreign laboratories.” The official deputy Cecilia Moreau and the official sanitarista Jorge Rachid They clamored against the purchase of Pfizer vaccines, in a delusional defense of our “sovereignty” (which, unlike the lives of our compatriots, was not at risk).
We begin these reflections with a reference to fiction, let’s edit real life as if it were: suppose that the one chosen by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to serve as president it would not have been Alberto Fernández but José López, the former national secretary of Public Works of the Kirchners. He was much more relevant than the current president and remained faithful to the current vice president (unlike the current president, who criticized her like no one else).
José López in 2016, when the General Rodríguez convent was arrested.
Let us advance then in the political fiction of José López Presidente before the affair of the bags and the submachine gun (so close to fiction) was discovered. With the following auction: on the end of the restrictions due to the pandemic, in the middle of this year that ends, the videos are filtered with the 9 million dollars on the threshold of the false convent. What would the citizen’s relationship with the president be from that moment on? José López not only crossed the threshold of a convent: he also crossed the threshold of our tolerance for corruption. The majority vote of the electorate for the Fernández formula in 2019 was a symbolic pardon to López (Not coincidentally, the winning formula accompanied, in the 90s, Menem president: executor of the pardons to the former commanders and the Montoneros, in 1989 and 1990).
But the mid-term defeat of the ruling party may have been, from an optimistic point of view, the revocation of that pardon, penalizing the festichola of Olivos and the theft of vaccines. Society cannot undo the symbolic pardon for López: but a new destiny can be determined. What would we have done if we had discovered, after we had voted him for president, that López was trafficking bags with millions of illicit dollars, armed with a submachine gun? What will we do now that we discover, after having voted for him, that Alberto Fernández locked up a country, while celebrating himself with transgressions for which, according to himself, the life or death of the people was decided? That is the open end of the Republic. The narrow path that only we can make, between what is fair and what is possible.