Donald Tusk’s reaction to questions about his possessions was in full accordance with the norm in Polish politics. The standard that says you don’t have to explain anything.

When asked about his origins, Tusk followed the line of least resistance. Because he knows he can Source: Door, Photo: Żmijewski . Titus

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This is an iron rule in Polish politics in recent years. If an uncomfortable question arises, any specific accusation against one of the parties that he cannot answer immediately begins to politicize it. Shifting the conflict from the objective level to the political one always makes an impact – because both PiS and politicians have so many loyal supporters that they are ready to tolerate practically everything.

Donald Tusk behaved exactly the same way, commenting on Wirtualna Polska’s reports regarding his earnings. He didn’t even try hard to explain anything. He followed the path of least resistance. He said he transferred the property to his wife for security reasons because he feared the PiS. He added that what Mateusz Morawiecki had done with his property was worse – and that’s it.

The saddest thing about all of this is that Tusk is right. He knows his voters won’t even ask questions. Moreover, they will sympathize with him to the point that PiS is pursuing him so fiercely that he does not have a moment of peace. The former prime minister is well aware of this – hence the tone and hence the line of defense he adopts. I made the best possible choice. For myself and my party.

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Almost everything is divided

Why is this simple strategy so effective? Tusk himself admitted that he had received questions about transferring property to his wife from the Polish armed forces a few months ago. Not answered. When the information was released, he reacted belatedly, only several hours later. In addition, with apparent reluctance, as if surprised that such information should be commented on at all.

This reaction is a natural consequence of the deep polarization around which Polish politics is framed. The split between the two political blocs has become so pervasive that the barrier separating them is virtually waterproof.

This is fully illustrated by the recently published study “It’s Complicated. People and Their Democracies in Germany, France, Great Britain, Poland and the United States” by More Common Action. It was conducted in early 2020 and 2021. Simple questions from the pollsters showed conclusively that Civic Platform and PiS voters are two completely different groups that are not closely related enough.

Example? Question about the level of satisfaction with democracy in Poland. 63 percent of PiS voters are satisfied with how it operates in our country. At the same time, only 8 percent. Supporters of the platform gave the same answer. More than 80% of them are dissatisfied with the way Polish democracy works.

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The exact same thing happened with questions about the state of the economy. Among PiS voters, 66 percent. They are satisfied with the way the Polish economy works – meanwhile, in the case of PO voters, it is only 7 percent. However, we are talking about a field described in terms of hard numbers. Everyone can assess the level of the economy by comparing its condition with previous years or with other countries. Everyone feels how it works, and they measure it by the size of their own wallet.

However, it can be noted that this is not how work is done in Poland. We judge even such a measurable area as the economy through the prism of our party’s preferences.

But the filter that the Poles apply to reality is one thing. We put another filter on this filter: our emotions. 59 percent of Labor voters think PiS voters do not deserve respect. In contrast, among the supporters of Kaczynski’s party, 33 percent. He thinks there is no way to respect Tusk’s voters. These numbers better illustrate the extent of the tension between the two main political forces in the country.

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There are seeds, there is no gardener

It is the level of polarization that makes Tusk feel less of a need to reliably refer to the findings of the Polish armed forces. It was similar before, when the “Gazeta Wyborcza” described the issue of the purchase of land plots near Wroclaw by Morawiecki – the current Prime Minister did not consider it expedient to explain everything so thoroughly. They both know that at the current level of tension it is not so important – their own side of the topic does not go into much, while the other side has the worst possible opinion of their opponents, and they do not need any further arguments to confirm. The logic of the rivalry between two groups trapped in their own bubbles.

How tight are these bubbles? Fortunately, there are still topics of interest to everyone, they are multilateral. For example, the Olympic Games that are taking place now. The Poles support everyone, and really enjoy the medals – no one asks whether Anita Vodarchic votes for PiS or the Labor Party, or whether Wojciech Nowicki has more conservative or liberal views. We just celebrate their successes. together.

Just as we keep our fingers crossed for Kryscina Cimanouska to escape the Belarusian regime. In this case, the typical polarity disappears again. Readers of “Gazeta Wyborcza” and “Gazeta Polska” are equally concerned about the fate of Cimanouska – and neither side is trying to put this situation on their banners, making it public. You can see that this is a common problem for Poles.

Less and less of these topics, but still there. You can still see the space where Poles emerge from the trenches of political conflict and are able to speak with one voice and describe reality in a similar way. Their number is decreasing, but not reduced to zero. Perhaps one day it will be possible to reconstruct the feeling of a national community based on them – that is why you should care about such subjects, and treat them as seeds from which something good will one day sprout. Maybe you will succeed.

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Although not fast. If someone hoped that Tusk would become a gardener who would take care of this seed, then after his first month in Polish politics, he had to give up those hopes. The former prime minister returned after seven years in Brussels. It was expected that, along with this, new European standards would appear in Polish politics. But it is already known that nothing will change. Politics with Tusk will run on the exact same paths without it. His reaction to questions about his possessions proved just that.

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