Monday, September 20, 2010

An election of many colors

Yesterday was election day in Sweden (and I'm sure some of you who read this because you have a mild obsession with Swedish ex-pat blogs are very well aware of that, since this morning the blogging community is hardcore blogging about what happened).

Apparently this election was a big deal. Due to several factors, I am just now starting to understand what is going on with the Swedish election process and the different parties. For the most part I was overwhelmed by the different colors and little cottages where they do their politicking. (Seriously, Linköping's square was lined in little wooden cottages painted colors like light blue, green/pink, red, etc.)I found it very friendly and welcoming and also made me wonder what it would look like if the Dems/GOP had their little cottages to politic with. (Oh the possibilities...)

Centerpartiet i Linköping. It was my favorite.*
But the election was important because as far as I can understand from watching SVT1 (mostly just looking at the graphs because I cannot understand what they're saying), reading The Local, and the local newspaper. The Moderates retained control over parliament....barely. The Social Democrats (hold on  to your pants my conservative friends, these are the people you consider socialists...breath...just's ok...just stay calm) just barely lost. The 'conservative' (I use this term extremely loosely, every political party in Sweden is further left than Obama's pinky toe can even fathom) section of their groups has majority. As far as I can tell, this is good? I don't know.

However, what is really getting everyone into a major stink is that Sweden Democrats got 5.7% of the vote meaning, I think, 20 or so seats in Parliament. The issue with this party is their anti-immigration stance (read: Anti Islam) and older members possessing Nazi party ties. Every other political party can't stand them, don't want to be in the same room with them, and have stated they will refuse to work with them. (Apparently they're taking a page from the Mitch McConnell book, except they have chins, are nicer, and actually care about the people they represent and not about lining their they're not actually like Mitch McConnell at all, other than they refuse to work with thinly veiled racist party...oh crap...what am I talking about....they're nothing like McConnell.)

The Swedish Democrats being elected into parliament could have an effect on me. How much? I don't know, but they have a very clear anti-immigration, fear based, stance. When people were campaigning, I asked if Fredrik wanted to go to the Swedish Democrats cottage and ask what they thought about my immigration into Sweden. Would they want to deny me also? I was curious, plus what would they do if they were actually confronted by a Swede who wants his immigrant girlfriend with him?

Anyways, I feel bad for my Swedish friends who are embarrassed by this election..and well..welcome to the club of being embarrassed by your country's politics (Can we say, "Tea Party"?). Let's hope Sweden stays progressive and there are no steps backwards, and that if there are changes to the immigration laws that they are positive.

<3 <3

*Photo from Centerpartiet i Linköping.


sapphire said...

Oh yes, the Tea Party... I think they win "we're bat shit crazy" since they run around screaming and holding neon paper signs.

I find it funny that Sweden just now realized they have a problem with immigrants (ie- refugees). Ummm...duh. Sweden has had immigration problems ever since immigrants came to the country. Any country would have problems! But no, the little socialists put their heads in the ground and pretended Sweden is a happy little country that loves their immigrants.

I hope this means Sweden will move in the right direction of helping immigrants find real jobs, get educated, and learn Swedish. Without that, there's no hope for the country.

And for the immigrants, why yes, this is not American with its American Dream. You can take advantage of the system but then no one will like you. But if you lift yourself out and make the effort, the Swedes will meet you halfway.

It's time to work together and build a better Sweden.

Abby said...

Exactly. As you know one of my biggest issues with moving here was that I had no idea what to do, and I came over as best prepared as possible. But if a country is going to have these easy immigration laws, you would think they would be better prepared for the immigrants. It's like they go, 'Welcome! Welcome to our country!' and they leave you on your own a little lost. And if you don't live in a Kommun with a good SFI program, you could just be flat screwed

I was on Sveirgedemokraternas (god I hope I spelled that correctly) wikipedia site (which is currently on lock down from editing) and they were using key words like 'refugee'. Which is telling...

We'll see what happens. I hope something positive comes out of this, though I know from my facebook feed a lot of my friends are really upset. Gotta stay positive though...and be thankful that there are no tea baggers here. har har har :)

Minda said...

Let's just clear up one thing: they are Tea BAGGERS. Tea Partiers is a historically incorrect use of that name and also is too generous to their characters. Tea Baggers is the only correct way to describe them.

Abby said...

To be perfectly frank, Melinda, I cannot call them tea-baggers without snickering like a 14 year old boy. Though it is correct...they could go teabag themselves frankly.

*snicker snicker snicker*

Anonymous said...

About what the Sweden Democrats would think about your immigration... I once met a guy who basicly was of the opinion that Sweden shouldn't accept immigrants. I knew this guy was kind of interested in me, so I said "Well, I wouldn't be here if there was no immigration, since my family immigrated here from Scotland in the 18th century." He said that it was different, because there's a difference between immigrants from "the western world" and those from other countries. So he was basicly a racist. I think many of those who voted for the Sweden Democrats are of the same opinion. You probably would be safe...