So where am I going to

Tim Rice‘s lyrics from the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber Evita keep on popping in my head, and I can see clearly the scene now. I saw Evita twice while in Los Angeles many eons ago.

(EVA and PERON arrive at PERON’s apartment.
PERON’s 16 year-old MISTRESS is in bed.)


Hello and goodbye!
I’ve just unemployed you
You can go back to school–you had a good run
I’m sure he enjoyed you
Don’t act sad or surprised, let’s be friends, civilized
Come on little one!
Don’t sit there like a dummy!
The day you knew would arrive is here–you’ll survive
So move, funny face!
I like your conversation–you’ve a catchy turn of phrase
Your obviously going through some adolescent phase

So what happens now
So what happens now
Where am I going to

You’ll get by you always have before

Where am I going to

Don’t ask anymore

(EVA turns PERON’s MISTRESS out into the hall.)

Well, my present circumstances have nothing to do with a mistress, being one, or having one bothering me, still the sentiments expressed in these lyrics are along the same lines.

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Yesterday I communicated my decision to take a seat being vacated after this summer break in the Bernese city parliament to the co-presidents of my party representation in this organ of the local Swiss democratic process. This was a personal decision that represents a formidable challenge for me. But… I could have said no, however I want the challenge. It is that simple.

Yesterday morning when I went to the dojo my Sensei and I exchanged a few words that prompted some action on my side as to how to make this decision. I took my notebook and on one side made a heading “against” and on the other side “for” taking the offer. I came up with exactly two reasons against, and they are strong and indeed a more reasonable person would have found those to be reason enough to say no. A second look at those reasons revealed that they are strongly dominated by what my ego would like, and at this point I have no commitment to indulge my ego. On the other side, the reasons for taking this seat just flowed:

  • Curiosity heads the list. How does this process of democracy really work in practice? What is it that one individual and a minority party can effectively move in city government? How is it to work together within a group of 15 individuals as a political party and democratically elected for this office?
  • Community. I have lived on and off in Berne for past 25 years. The off time has included living in Rupperswil in the Canton of Argau, Ithaca in upstate New York, Garching near Munich and Zwingenberg near Darmstadt both in Germany. It also included a stint of living in this city and having my office in London in the UK. This city has been good to me in more ways than I am ready to state at this time. Who am I in this community? Where am I? What am I doing?
  • Integrity. Live what I preach. It is easy to criticize politics and administrations. When given a chance to do this first hand, do I want to turn it down?

Clearly I have just created a major breakdown in my life, but frankly it was much overdue. There is work to do.

Having been born to a family with a rather tainted name in politics, and having quite a few strong personalities in the family, gave me a particular slant on politics and power. I did spend the first thirty years of my life avoiding the spotlight and hating being in the public eye. Eventually I decided that it was time to address this prejudice of mine and became involved in the Swiss European Movement, now called NEBS/NOMES. I remain associated with the NEBS, but no longer belong to any of their executive organs. I stepped down from the NEBS after a very successful time bringing to fruition several good projects because I felt that it was time to move on and look a bit closer at my community. I joined the FDP/PRD and became active in my local section in the Altsdadt-Obstberg part of Berne, and am still its president. I also have served a two year term in the school board of the Schwabgut Volksschule which has been very much of an eye opener about how the school system functions in this city. As my life has gotten very chaotic in the past two years I have dedicated extremely little time to the care of the section’s affairs and now do have a bit of a mess to clean up. Indeed, there is work ahead.

There is a light side to this, my cousin Tomás and I have exchanged banter about the fact that as of August our grandfather has two of his grandchildren sitting in the municipal parliaments of the places where we live: S. Bras de Alportel and Berne.