IN the midst of a deep economic recession, the front runner for the presidency has little relief to offer except to reunite a sharply polarized society.

BUENOS AIRES : Street nomenclature can be a subtle way of expressing political loyalties here. A small street near the Argentine Congress is officially named Presidente Teniente General Juan Domingo Peron, after the late populist leader.

But his die-hard opponents insist on using a former name, Cangallo, a quiet refusal to honor the man they blame for ruining the country.

Ideological disagreements, of course, predate General Pron, but the divide between his supporters and opponents has been a structural component of Argentine politics since the 1950s.

Polarization has evolved and intensified significantly in recent years. The schism, known as  ''la grieta'' divides supporters of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner from those of her successor, President Mauricio Macri.

The two camps over the past decade have waged a scorched-earth political battle framed in Manichaean moral terms, more reminiscent of holy war than a democratic debates.

It has been electorally profitable, however, and most analysts believed that ''la grieta'' would define the general elections, to be held on Oct 27.

Here, as elsewhere in our increasingly polarized world, it has become taboo to discuss politics in social circles that [miraculously] still include divergent ideological visions.

Family members obsessively avoid discussing the elections, or just avoid one another. There are even Tinder-style applications that promise ideologically friendly hookups. [Because what's worse than waking up with the enemy?]

I avoid discussing politics with acquaintainces of unknown political leanings, and close friends whose opinions I know all too well. This has made for banal exchanges in a year that is anything but.

Still, conflict-weary Argentines appear to support a shift toward moderation, though it comes with unexpected bedfellows.

Presidential front-runner Alberto Fernandez, along with his running mate, Cristina fernandez de Kirchner, have adopted a mostly moderate tone and a focus on unity  among diverse sectors of Argentina's political, economic and social universe.

This approach is a core tenet of his inclusively named campaign, ''Everybody's Front,'' which calls for a ''social pact.'' It will no doubt disappoint some die-hards on both sides butt could be a much-needed national salve.

They seem to have caught on to a new electoral truth : The country is tired of interminable and bilious divisions. Most people who inhibit the political center or exhausted by the vitriol. In lieu of rosy pledges, they're calling for unity.

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on Argentines and Politics, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Jordana Timerman.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!