We have to choose again

By Amanda of Belgium

The thin legs on shiny heels and a shocking pink hat comes waltzing out with “I voted DP and I’m not ashamed of it! And who did you vote for, Dearie?” Hearing my answer, she says it is good, because they form a coalition. The security guard at the embassy has to take a photo of us immediately and then she is on her way back to Antwerp. I cross the street. South Africa has chosen (in the elections) and now it is our turn in Belgium.

The board stood alone at the entrance to our town for a long time. She is probably desperate for votes the man said and we laughed about the strange election poster – a poster in the form of a heart with a smiling blonde girl on it. Other posters were added later:, green ones, yellow ones, blue ones, red ones with exquisitely coloured-in and groomed candidates who try to portray energy, wisdom or calmness. Everyone competes for the most visible place next to the road, enticing you with clever slogans. It makes me think of our Bella-dog who, when it is dinnertime, tries to lure us and bribe us with a wagging tale and a turning body towards the kitchen and the dog bowl. 

Then my tooth’s filling falls out. To do my bit for the ever-warming earth, I walk the two kilometres to the dentist, thinking about the spijbelende school children. For the 18th time they bunk school on a Thursday – a mass of hundreds and sometimes thousands of protesting children with flags, banners and creative slogans, because the politicians do not respond with alacrity to the earth’s abuse. Sometimes I have to wonder about all the cellphones that are used to organise everything and those who hang out in the clothes shops on Wednesday afternoons and leave with large shopping bags.

Then the hundreds of trans-migrants (who do not want to live here because they think that England would look better after them) make the townfathers feel hot under the collar. The bus drivers do not want to stop at the station, because they are being attacked, as well as the travelers. This plate of hard cookies is being handed from one person to the next and everyone looks away — not nice cookies. And then all of a sudden everything is cleaned up over night: all the trans-migrants find accommodation in old hotels and the townfathers and “politics” smile broadly. They probably did not have time to organise it earlier, or the hotels were just not empty yet.

The radio talks politics and the television is conducting interviews. It is not only the trans-migrants that become aggressive. When the conversation topics become complicated, people will, with nastiness and criticism, fire from the hip on any man and these days, many women as well.. And we have a strict ban on weapons!

Meanwhile my tongue is still visiting the hole in my tooth. I walk past the heart-blonde, who is not alone anymore. My eye catches something shiny. And I walk back. Truly, a mirror in the shape of a heart and a small flickering light below ‘een hart voor iedereen.’ Gwenny has a heart for me, for the trans-migrant out of Syria, for the old lady who cannot afford the old age home, for Mr Google who supplies work and therefore does not have to pay a lot of tax, for Teacher who does her best to teach the rainbow class to read and write in Flemish, and for Farmer on his land for whom the rain came too late.

I wink at the Gwenny-heart as I walk the two kilometres back home – tooth repaired.

On her website I read about this positive woman who really cares about people and their problems, because life is short. Someone who listens, smiles and encourages people. Her motto is to build together, to make life better for everyone, irrespective of background. Because to live from the heart and do good let people smile.

Gwenny with her heart policy on a heart board makes me smile and I also want to do good to others so that they can smile. Maybe we need more of this in our harsh world. I hope she becomes president.

Originally published in My Child and I, Summer 2019

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