Poland Celebrates 20 Years of Voting

As the 20th anniversary of the Solidarity movement’s triumph approaches, Poland finds itself divided politically and unhappy with its current state of affairs.   As I argue in my New Atlanticist piece “Poland’s Democracy at 20,” this is a good thing.

Unhappiness with the quality of one’s politicians, too, is a sure sign of a maturing democracy.  Gone are the days when Poles were excited to vote; that’s now simply expected.  But the expectations of new democracies are absurdly unrealistic and thus inevitably dashed.

Twenty years ago, Poland was part of the Warsaw Pact; today it’s part of NATO.  Then, it was on the outside looking in at Europe’s prosperity; now it’s a member of the EU.  Then, it was under Soviet domination; now it’s free.   Then, its people hated the government and they do again.  At least this time, they’re free to complain about it without the risk of being arrested.

Much more at the link, including the irony of Solidarity threatening to shut down celebrations of its own movement with strikes.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.