Monday, January 11, 2021

the last book I ever read (Anne Applebaum's Twilight of Democracy, excerpt ten)

from Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism by Anne Applebaum:

Some of the Spaniards I met were also suffering from déjà vu, though of a different kind: they thought they heard the echoes of the past in Vox’s rhetoric. Older Spaniards can still remember the ostentatious nationalism that characterized the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, the chants of “Arriba Espańa!” or “Go Spain!” at rallies, the solemn atmosphere of forced patriotism. During most of the four decades that followed the dictator’s death in 1975, it seemed as if nobody wanted any of that back. Instead, Spain in the late 1970s went through a transition parallel to the one that Poland and Hungary experienced in the 1990s, joining European institutions, rewriting the constitution, and establishing a national truce. In its way, the democratization of Spain was the postwar world’s true proof of concept. The democratization and integration of France, Germany, Italy, and the rest had proved so successful by the time of Franco’s death that Spaniards, who had set out on a quite different course after the way, finally clamored to join them.

After the transition was completed, Spain’s new democracy was almost ostentatiously consensual. Two main political parties emerged from the old one-party state, and together they agreed to agree. Many former Francoists and their children found their way to the new center-right Popular Party; many former Franco opponents and their children found their way to the new center-left Socialist Party. But both sides arranged tacitly, and sometimes openly, not to talk about the things that had once divided them. Franco was allowed to remain in his elaborate tomb, part of a memorial known as the Valley of the Fallen. His left-wing opponents were allowed to celebrate their own veterans. The civil war that had divided them went undiscussed. The past, seemingly in defiance of Faulkner’s famous remark, remained past.

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