Going beyond the partisan lens

It’s often been said that we live in a country ruled by either red or blue. With these being the dominant forces found within Malta’s political arena, not only do they influence the majority of discourse and news which is consumed, but condition the way in which political rhetoric presents itself. Such rhetoric isn’t just about catchy slogans and taglines. It has also impacted the ways in which pressing issues are presented, together with the presentation of solutions to such problems.

To this end, it’s not uncommon for assumptions to be made in relation to people’s political affiliation due to the most mundane of things. Be it reacting to a major news story impacting the lives of thousands of people, or expressing your political views on a wide variety of issues, that alone may be sufficient enough for a ‘deduction’ to be made. More often than not, the phrases ‘ja Nazzjonalist indannat’ or ‘Laburist imgiddem int’ come to mind in terms of how these situations manifest themselves. Ultimately, such assumptions being made only serve to dilute any form of critical discussion which Malta may be having on any given matter, and reduce the serious nature of important issues to angry and rude insults typed out in capital letters for a Facebook comment section, if not worse.

It’s not uncommon for assumptions to be made in relation to people’s political affiliation due to the most mundane of things.

However, the most severe impacts of this barely scratch the surface with these incidents. This partisan mentality, which has by now become a key characteristic of Maltese politics, has managed to cement itself in such a way, whereby the most fundamental of concepts are disputed. In this sense, it’s come to the point where the mere existence of a widespread grievance is questioned, and any constructive proposition being put forward as a means to solve it is immediately belittled and ridiculed.

Granted, there are matters on which both the Labour Party and Nationalist Party have never seen eye to eye, and probably never will. Be they socio-economic issues, philosophical or ideological differences, or any other variable which causes both parties to engage in an eternal conflict with one another, some differences between the PN and PL are just irreconcilable. Nevertheless, we are all Maltese and Gozitans. We all live in the same country. We are all citizens of the same nation. Most of us just happen to vote for two different political parties every 5 years at the polling booth. In light of all this, there are also some problems which impact each and every one us, as much some may try to deny this simple truth.

We are all Maltese and Gozitans. We all live in the same country. We are all citizens of the same nation.

Ideally, common problems require necessary solutions. Nonetheless, the inner workings of Maltese politics don’t create such an ideal world, and make the one which we’re currently living in much worse than how we wish it to be.

As I already referred to before, the partisan elements which dominate Malta’s political landscape have conditioned some to the point where the severity of pressing issues is denied, and the measures being suggested as an antidote to these problems are lambasted. All of this, simply happens as a result of who would be making a case for these matters to be addressed. Now it goes without saying, that this partisan mentality is perhaps the biggest problem in of itself. When one considers how engrained this partisan mentality now is within Maltese society, and our country’s culture, this particular problem may take a lifetime to solve, as hearts and minds take an eternity to change.

Despite the odds being stacked against us, this doesn’t mean that this hurdle shouldn’t be overcome, nor does it mean that it isn’t slowly being overcome already. One’s political beliefs shouldn’t be easily assumed just because of their attendance at a protest condemning the exploitative degradation of Malta’s urban and natural environment, and legitimate criticism being directed towards the government shouldn’t be perceived as a contrived attack launched by the opposition.

Any criticism being levied about the mishandling of an issue goes beyond which party happens to be in government at the time. Such mishandling doesn’t only impact a government’s critics as some may like to think, but a whole country. A country, which is governed, and a government which ultimately represents all, not just those who agree with it.

 

Jacob Callus is a youth activist, who has graduated with a B.A. Hons in International Relations, and has read for an M.A in European Politics, Economics and Law at the University of Malta. His interests include politics and history, news and current affairs.

 

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