In 2016 we might have learned a thing or two about contemporary democracies

It keeps popping up these day, from Hypernormalisation to The price of certainty, passing by Black Mirror and House of Cards: we live in post-factual times. The speed and volume of information in the current distorts our mental model of the world. We realize more than ever that our society exists on top of a narrative that doesn't need substance or truth to exist. We have more data and less knowledge. Everything is PR.

This disconnection between what we experience and what we are fed through mass media make our contemporary democracies act in barely surrreal ways. I compiled with the help with some friends in social media a small list of learnings from our very own 2016, the year of the monkey:

  • A democratically elected president can be taken down by a dubious conspiracy made by it's own (and very shady) political allies without proper trial, with the support of a big part of the population in name of some moral crusade against corruption.
  • A country can decide to ditch a deal that puts it on a very privileged position in the world, with the support of the part of the population that benefits the most from this same deal.
  • A 4 year peace negotiation to solve an ongoing 60 year civil war can be thrown in the dumpster, with the support of the population most affected by the conflict.
  • A presidential candidate riding piggyback on the political establishment, leading on most polls and considered the sound option can lose the elections to a inexperienced, incoherent and borderline perverse candidate, with the support of a silent majority that would be the most punished by the measures proposed by this winning candidate.
  • A supposedly democratically elected present can be just a fa├žade for a semi-mystical secret society led by the president's counsellor, who has been its mentor since childhood.
  • A president with vast popular support staged a fake coup to dismantle the opposition and reinforce grip in the country's institutions. All the while being backed by the western powers, which see this country as a strategic partner in a key and largely destabilized region.