Remember that village chief from Tuszów Narodowy, known for his fanatic ultra catholic fixation? If not, look here. And why am I bringing him up again? It’s because of his letter to the Commissioner for human rights, in which he defends his parish’ stand against “LGBT ideology”. He argues, that if he backed down, he would “side with the rainbowy disease, and agree for the young generation to be demoralized from the kindergarten”. According to him, the man has to follow god’s law, that is above that one made by humans, and the world, possessed by Satan, eroticism and sex, will end worse than cities of Sodom and Gomorrah…
This is a perfect example of the sexual obsessions of the Polish right. Which, since PiS decided to use it as a weapon against Rafał Trzaskowski, the main opposition candidate in the oncoming presidential election, skyrocketed to the highest levels of absurdity. Another PiS MP wanted to know if in the free kindergartens promised by him there will be “mandatory masturbation lessons”.
Antoni Macierewicz, former Minister of Defence, also has a similar fixation. During his meeting with PiS voters, he warned that Trzaskowski wants to “raise children into paedophilia”.
The fact, that Macierewicz has been allowed to meet in public shows, that PiS is desperate and calls all hands on deck to encourage their most hardcore followers to vote. Usually, Macierewicz is “locked in the broom closet” during the electoral campaign, as his behaviour raises a question, if he is indeed mentally stable (and rightly so, as you can judge for yourself when you watch this poor reporter trying to ask him a question when the long-awaited “report on the truth about Smoleńsk crash” will be released).
As usual, the church is actively supporting PiS, allowing PiS politicians, such as Jadwiga Emilewicz or Antoni Macierewicz to address the faithful from the pulpit during holy masses. The official position of the episcopate is, that there is no place for politics in the church, but the journalist saw a letter sent by the episcopate proving that it is, in fact, actively engaged in the election on the side of Andrzej Duda. And nobody is surprised because not only the church is well rewarded for its support (recently, for example, in yet another iteration of the anti-economic crisis measures law, PiS smuggled some changes to the law that de facto raises punishments for abortion).
By the way, PiS’s method of throwing everything that comes to their mind into the ever-changing bill called “anti-crisis shield” has been ridiculed by right-wing MP Grzegorz Braun, who proposed an amendment as follows: “Everyone should be healthy, beautiful and rich and minister Emilewicz should have her own helicopter, so she can throw money over Poland as she wishes”:
But, back to the church. They also know, that with PiS losing power, the financial El Dorado for the church is coming to an end. The investigative reporters of Oko.press uncovered yet another scandal – during the previous rule of Kaczyński the church was given, for free, lands and buildings near Olsztyn. Those were to be used by the Caritas, but the vast majority of that is used for other purposes: there is bishop’s private residence, a hotel and warehouses, that are rented by the Tax Administration. The church was given those lands on condition that it will use it solely for a charitable purpose, and not only nothing is being done about the church breaking the deal, but also the state institution rent buildings were given to the church for free, further funnelling money to the church’s pockets… And as if it was not enough, the states give extraordinary grants to the church for the refurbishment of those objects…
But of course, the church help is limited only to churchgoers. Therefore PiS has to tackle Trzaskowski’s threat in other ways as well. Swarms of TVP “journalists” and PiS activists are sent after him in order to try and compromise him in any possible way. But of course, the effects are completely opposite. Still, there are some funny moments. One of the TVP employees asked that if Trzaskowski two years ago instead of going to a military parade went to the market to buy jam, if he would do the same if he becomes a president:
The other day, as the Trzaskowski’s committee stresses the fact that, unlike Andrzej Duda, their candidate is fluent in English (and also in a few more languages), they sent an activist, who posed as American from Virginia. Trzaskowski instantly picked up, that the provocateur has a Polish accent:
Kolejny agent z @tvp_info 😆
Za te 2 mld można było zatrudnić lepszych statystów. Amerykanin płakał, gdy słuchał…
— Weronika Piotrowska (@Wer_Piotrowska) June 21, 2020
Rafał Trzaskowski was also accused of lying and sued after he said: “Today, one million people lost their jobs”. The court ruled, that this claim was not untrue, and therefore he does not have to apologize for it. PiS does not agree with this ruling, claiming that those words weren’t true, as “today” was not a figure of speech, but Trzaskowski really meant this very particular day… Still, it was a blow in Duda’s narration, as the hashtag promoted by PiS in recent days is “#RafałNieKłam” – Rafał, don’t lie – and the newest Andrzej Duda’s spot is focused solely on Trzaskowski (in a very primitive way, I have to add):
This spot was quickly parodied by none-other but Mateusz Morawiecki’s own nephew, and it turns out it that message is much better when aimed at Andrzej Duda:
President Duda desperately needs some good press as well. He did not fare well in a televised presidential debate in TVP, despite the fact that questions were not only plucked out from his electoral manifesto, but also clearly aimed at Trzaskowski: there was a question about refugees, about if the schools should prepare pupils to the first communion, about gay rights, about introducing Euro currency in Poland, and about coronavirus vaccines. Better than a question about buying jam, but still daft, as none of this is really burning issues right now.
Andrzej Duda’s team seems to become desperate. In Rogoźno his electoral rally, hosted by one of the government ministers, was organized at the same time and place as the planned procession for the Corpus Christi octave. The procession was delayed, so the crowds could participate in the rally. But of course, not everyone is interested in religious activities, therefore many of the locals were lured with the promise of free coronavirus tests…
In a desperate need of any success, Andrzej Duda goes va banque, and leaves the country for the last days of the campaign to visit Donald Trump in the US. Which also does not work well for him, after Elliot Engel, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Representative chamber calls for Trump to cancel that visit due to homophobic stand of Andrzej Duda…
The last front of the Andrzej Duda’s campaign is harassing the opposition. A man, who decorated his van with a picture of Duda in a jester’s hat and the slogan “Better dive in septic tank than to vote for that wank” (please note: I translated it with some artistic freedom) has been stopped and, when after over 30 minutes police, after several phone consultations, accused him of “offending the president”, arrested, along with his passenger. The driver was held at the police station where he was handcuffed, stripped naked and searched. His van was impounded and only released to him after a few days.
About the same time, a picture of a car towing a caravan with anti-PiS slogans surrounded by 8 police vehicles circulated the internet. The police denied that those squad cars had anything to do with the caravan, and that was corroborated by its crew, who said that they were followed for all day by two unmarked police cars. All those police vehicles were just usual view around Jarosław Kaczyński’s private residence, which is being protected 24/7 by a crew of 18 officers who, at this time, required extra support, because a couple of people wanted to stage a small protest outside it. I would like to remind you, that Jarosław Kaczyński already enjoys the company of several bodyguards, former soldiers of the elite commando unit…
So the elections are taking place this Sunday. The government is encouraging people to participate – Ministry of Interior affairs even organized a competition to encourage electoral participation: the commune with the highest turnout in every voivodship is going to receive a fire engine. The competition is limited to the communes for up to 20 000 people though. That means small villages in rural Poland, regions that are most likely to vote for Duda. Strange coincidence, eh?
- This piece was written for Britské Listy
Illustration: Public Domain