Understanding the World’s Populist Political Trends From the Perspective of an Avocado

When you look at the current trends in the world’s politics you don’t think, “Oh, yes these countries are just like the overripe avocados sitting on my counter.” No, of course you don’t. Likely you scan the news in with anticipation, impatience, and sometimes disgust. However, aren’t these the very same emotions that you experience when you wait for your imported, omega-3-rich fruit to ripen?

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The populist-leaning politics that are sweeping across Europe and the United States are nothing new. They just haven’t been seen since the first half of the 20th century. In the past several years, however, this trend has begun to reemerge and show its face; a face that supports a head that holds a narrow, ideological mindset fueled by nationalistic ideals. While these tendencies toward nationalistic identities and xenophobia are nothing new in concept, the breadth and depth of their influences and repercussions in the modern world are unprecedented.

Already you can sense echoes of nationalism as far as the Middle East and the rising tensions on old political battlegrounds between Taiwan, the U.S., and China. And many are asking, “How did we get here?”

To answer the question of the development of this populist phenomenon and explore the repercussions it will have on those who frequently travel across the boundaries defined by cartographers, we will use the beloved avocado as our subject of comparison.

 First the avocado (idea) has to be imported.

Then it is going to lay dormant and immature until you think it’s never going to actually ripen.

Suddenly, it ripens to perfection all at once. So fast that you barely have a moment to process what is happening before you realize that you need to do something about this change of state.

As soon as it’s ripe, it’s overripe. Its veneer has rotted and it cannot sustain itself.

This is a similar lifecycle path with populist movements. In such a tightly interconnected global economy, information is transferred at such lightening speed that political movements are developing and gaining ground exponentially faster than previous eras. With such speed, these phenomena are able to permeate homes and through there pervasiveness, they can influence one’s deeply rooted ideologies. In some this leads to xenophobia and restricted borders — all of which directly affects avid travelers by impacting the ease and safety of travel.

Although these trends make travelers more wary, those who do continue to travel will have a more intimate understanding of the detrimental undercurrents first hand and understand the devastating implications that they can have on a population. Therefore it is the job of those who traverse the world to be another source of news and a new perspective outside of the paid media.

Be the voice of change. Travel.

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