A man gave a speech this Tuesday in Brussels, in front of a banner that identified him as president and next to a Catalan and a European flag: a staging typical of someone who does not speak for himself, but on behalf of others. The presumption was that he was doing so on behalf of the seven deputies of Junts per Catalunya or the coalition whose moral leadership he exercises, but it soon became clear that he was speaking on behalf of Catalonia and the Catalans. He used the majestic plural and, on occasions, his nosaltres referred to his party and its voters, but most of the time, nosaltres meant nosaltres, the Catalans, in an understanding that should not surprise anyone: his political tradition has been speaking of nosaltres in opposition to the Spanish from Prat de la Riba.
We are also accustomed to the rhetorical abuse of we in all speeches. We live in a time when many people feel like crowds, but, in democracy, the us, the you and the them can and should be objectively delimited, ruining the rhetoric. With the calculator in hand, the invocations of our ancestors’ wars sound ridiculous.
Carles Puigdemont, strictly speaking, does not represent anyone, since he has not been a candidate in these elections, but let’s grant that he does, as head of Junts. That party has obtained 392,634 votes, 11.16% of those cast in Catalonia. If the complete census of the four constituencies is taken into account, its numbers are reduced to 7.15% of Catalans with the right to vote. In the total census of Spain, they represent 1.6% of the votes cast and 1.1% of Spaniards of legal age.
Puigdemont has the right to talk about historical commitments, ancestral grievances, the destiny of the old Catalan nation and the absolutist decrees of more than three centuries ago. He can feel that through his mouth the reapers of the hymn and the moaning chords of Pau Casals speak. He can even hurt his own neck from the weight of all the castells. But the sad truth, leaving aside his fugitive situation, is that his number is 392,634 Catalans. If with them he intends to impose his will on some 12 million voters (PSOE, Sumar and assimilated), perhaps he will succeed, but that imbalance is not called a historic agreement and could hardly be called democracy. In my neighborhood, 1% pimping out 45% is called blackmail. And a blackmailer can disguise himself as a statesman and believe himself to be the liberator of a people, but the numbers will prove his blackmail.
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