A couple centuries ago, at a meeting – one of dramatic importance, as it turned out– the attendees’ seating was divided according to what or whom they believed in. A trivial simplification of matters, as it might have seemed back then, turned out to define, for perhaps all of following history, the labels of the political spectrum. The legend of the Estates General of 1789, apart from the following French Revolution, recounts how it gave the world the idea of a the Right – the section that believed in conserving the order as it had always been; and of the Left – the part of the order that believed in change and equality.
Time passed, and the pendulum swung, from the right end. Time seemed to be of change and revelry, until the bob went further left. The ugliness that seemed characteristic of the existence of the orthodox seemed to manifest itself alongside the ideas of the liberals. And with the spread of democracy people witnessed their leaders, who once promised them a free world open to ideas, now churn their votes to become the new elite, knee deep in corruption and hypocrisy.
The pendulum now began it’s journey back to where it started from.
And on went the clock.
The swings have ever since – and perhaps even before – been periodic, with each society having its own clock. Newer groups formed, taking ideas from both sides, eventually leaning toward one of them, to varying extents. One party promises cleansing of the bad the the previous did, comes into power, builds the nation the way it wishes, creates its own mess and eventually succumbs to the opportunity another party strikes in that mess. In this gamble, the people may both gain and lose, depending on factors ranging from the strength of the ruling group and its will to elevate the State, to the constructiveness of the opposition’s strength and its detachment from anarchy.
Today more than ever, these pendulums seem to be intertwined across the globe. The closer the societies, the greater is the number of threads connecting their polities. Geographical proximity might be one of the most influential way two societies are close, but it quite definitely isn’t the only one, as exchange of resources isn’t bound by physical adjacency anymore. Energy, raw material, services, trade and increasingly, immigrants, can be traveling between nations diametrically opposite on the globe, perhaps with much greater an ease than they would flow between bordering nations. These exchanges further expand into the exchange of ideas and ambitions, therefore constituting the many threads that pull the strings in either country. So, it shouldn’t be surprising to see a sudden surge in the Left winning elections across Europe; why then should the opposite seem unreal?
The human mind fetches hope. Change is both, the cause as well as the consequence of hope. Movements erupt when populations feel something needs to change, hoping for the wrongs to be rectified by a new leadership. And this alone, is enough to fuel the perpetual see-saw of power, between the Left and the Right.