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Luis Abinader: The Triumph of Stoicism

Days After

Luis Abinader triumphs in the elections with a style and a message vastly different from the pervasive hatred in today’s politics.

We were so deeply immersed in trench warfare, tension, and fratricidal hatred that we had forgotten that another way of doing politics is possible. Luis Abinader is an example. The candidate from the Modern Revolutionary Party, or the renewed party of Francisco Peña Gómez, Hipólito Mejía, and Luis Abinader, has clearly and decisively won the elections in the Dominican Republic and abroad. He did so by conducting a campaign characterized by moderation, respect for the democratic rules of the game, and addressing everyday concerns. At a time when public debate has devolved into the muck, perpetual clowning, coarse tweets, dirty tricks, dystopia, and fabrication (all influenced by a new wave of Trumpism), it is refreshing to see the return of a reasonable and sensible statesman with a new governing style that seemed to have been definitively surpassed and rendered obsolete by the influence of haterism and extreme polarization.

The grand plan of the extreme populist Leonel, master of populism or democratic authoritarianism (democratic dictatorship, as I personally define it in my sociological research), is to demolish the rule of law from its very foundations, starting with good education and ending with turning democracy into a violent ring where fair play in exchanging ideas and opinions no longer has a place. Luis Abinader has bypassed this entire new ultra wave without dedicating a single minute to it. During the fifteen days of rallies and public events, we did not see him get entangled in the insults that were continuously thrown at him, both from within and from outside. It’s not because Alianza Rescate RD didn’t try to provoke him into wallowing in the political mud with them. He ignored it all, focused on his own message and “selling his book.” It takes a lot of composure, restraint, courage, and a cool head when the speaker at the rally “insults your mother,” involves you in a corruption issue that has nothing to do with you, or throws an old unrelated story in your face. You need nerves of steel and broad shoulders not to retaliate against a provocation or injustice and respond to an outburst, especially when the accuser has unresolved issues to confess to the Dominican people.

Are We Looking at a Man with Blood Made of Horchata? In this world, there is no one who isn’t stirred by pride deep down. Instead, we find ourselves before the last representative of classical stoicism, a Dominican Seneca. We live in turbulent times where philosophy is reserved for a handful of contemplatives, numismatists, or romantics of human thought history. Just take a look at the person, that serious, weathered, and unwavering face, that slightly over-aged marble Roman bust, to understand that there is something special about this politician, a peculiar being who is simultaneously attractive for his originality and integrity, in a profession where integrity is generally no longer valued, a gentleman against the current.

Luis Abinader, more than being embroiled in the bloody warfare of politics, appears to be wandering through the stoas of life, among Doric columns and peaceful gardens, with a book of Herodotus under his arm and immersed in his own thoughts. Politicians like this no longer exist; they all vanished in the age of Pericles. But we should celebrate that the Abinaders, the silent rebels, the revolutionaries of the soul and the inner world, who are most needed in this tumultuous 21st century, are back once again. What is the use of philosophy, we sometimes ask ourselves? For this, to chisel an illustrious man who is a solid block of gold amidst a human desert. To combine in a single statesman all the good of democracy and politics. Stoicism is more necessary than ever, primarily so that Dominican men and women do not end up in the hands of that “disguised rescue,” or in the hands of “con men” like the previous governments of Leonel and Danilo. We cannot control what happens around us, but we can control what we think and handle it as best as possible. Self-control, self-mastery, reason, and overcoming passions, pleasure, and money. Only this way can we achieve happiness (eudaimonia), peace of mind, heaven on earth, justice, and real equality.

With such a simple electoral program, with the lesson of affability, tolerance, and friendship as flags, without shouting or noise, the candidate of the Modern Revolutionary Party has won over millions of Dominicans. And the voters, confused, bewildered, and unsettled by a different man who didn’t shout, who didn’t insult, will continue to advance with his new style in favor of the Dominican people.

Without a doubt, Abinader is the most interesting political figure of our time in the Dominican Republic. A singular statesman worthy of study for the entomologists of TV talk shows. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has the habit of placing a sprig of parsley on Saint Pancras for the crucial moments in life. It wouldn’t surprise us. No one does these things anymore (modern influencers light candles for Saint Google), and the Roman saint of good luck and chance (there is no game more random than politics) knows how to be generous with those who have the least, who are on their way to becoming the new needy, scarce of votes, the new Christians persecuted by fascist Neronism. He may not be the most immediate, but he is certainly the smartest.

 

By: Manuel Domínguez Moreno

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