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The Warsaw Voice » From the News Editor » October 26, 2012
From the Editor-in-chief
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From the editor
October 26, 2012   
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Tension between romanticism and pragmatism has been present in Poland at least since the 19th century, when the country was under foreign control and people debated the legacy of several failed uprisings against the partitioning powers. This historic dispute was reignited after Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s recent policy speech in parliament.

Presenting his Cabinet’s plans for the coming years and asking parliament for a vote of confidence, the prime minister said he is not an expert on great romantic visions and that the vision closest to his heart is working for the country and solving specific problems on a day-to-day basis.

Moments later, opposition politicians, aided by a host of analysts and commentators, started to say that Tusk “has no vision” for the country.

Europe has its great vision: that of peace. It’s a fulfilled vision—the EU got the Nobel Peace Prize for it; and one requiring constant effort—for democracy, upholding and extending human rights, and security. Without all that, this great vision will turn to dust.

Poland has also fulfilled its great vision: that of freedom. Now it has a huge task to carry out—to build a normally functioning society, boringly pragmatic, building a solid house brick by brick, comfortable for daily living and resistant to tremors, because today’s world is a seismic zone. A lot of work has been done over the past 20 years, but there’s still plenty left to be done. For example, we need to convince ourselves that success can be achieved through pragmatism and hard work day in, day out, and by building a strong and stable middle class.

By a twist of history we are largely different from the rest of Europe. There is a gap in our minds that has been filled by a need for “visions” instead of sheer pragmatism. This is like the mythological siren song: it sounds wonderful but spells disaster.
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