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Brexit: Father Costa (Aggiornamenti Sociali), “a fragile democracy, we took it for granted but it needs to be overhauled”

“The outcome of the Brexit referendum, and the victory of those who supported the UK’s leaving the EU, has taken by surprise not just the observers but also those who had campaigned for such option”. This is written in the leading article of the new issue of “Aggiornamenti sociali”, written by Father Giacomo Costa, with the title: “Tra locale e globale, rilanciamo la democrazia” (Between local and global, let’s revive democracy). According to the author, the recent political events, the highlight of which was the outcome of the Brexit referendum, prove how fragile democracy is. To revive it, in his opinion, one should feel part of a global society that personally involves all of us, valuing social relationships and solidarity again. “This is not the first time the result of a referendum proves observers, surveys and exit polls wrong, but – Costa points out, in his long article – this time our surprise is compounded by a number of political and economic consequences for the United Kingdom, for the EU and for the whole world, which voters seem to have failed or not to have wanted to take into account, following their ‘guts’ rather than their ‘heads’”. “So, the British referendum further fuelled the doubts and questions about the health of democracy that have been around for some time, when you consider for instance the global estrangement from voting, the success of populist parties the political culture of which clearly clashes with the tradition of democracy, the standstill in which entire countries are finding themselves (it happened in Belgium and, more recently, in Spain) or, again, characters appearing on the political scene that at other times would have been called implausible, such as the US Republican nominee running for President, Donald Trump”. Costa reflects on the staying power of democratic systems and states: “Needless to say, we believe the reasons for keeping being democratic are far stronger than the doubts and qualms that are nevertheless raising their heads. The most important lesson we can learn is that probably we have too easily taken democracy for granted and as a certainty; what we find is instead that it is a high, exacting yet fragile ideal, so it needs to be regularly overhauled, so we can make those adjustments that the evolution of history seems to be needing”.

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