In the second season of the Wachowskis’ web series Sense8, there’s an exchange between the ever-earnest Capheus and a television anchor.
“I drive a bus,” Capheus tells the anchor. “If I didn’t take people where they hired me to take them, I wouldn’t expect them to get back on my bus. We expect leaders to take us where we want to go. The problem, it seems to me, begins when they don’t, when things do not improve and yet these leaders keep expecting us to get on their bus. I think this is when leaders become something else.”
“What?” the anchor asks.
Broken electoral trust has been a perennial topic over the last year. In the UK, in the US, in Turkey, and most recently in France, voters, activists, and politicians too have debated whether the leaders jockeying to become head of state have earned respect or trust.
Mostly, the consensus is no. And people struggle with what to do after acknowledging that the communal well has been poisoned.
I heard apathy and uncertainty from more British friends and relatives than I expected during Brexit season last year. Most of my US friends were resigned to voting but a substantial percent of the electorate either couldn’t or didn’t.
France did choose Macron this weekend, and Varoufakis and others will be watching to see whether the country’s Left follows through with the second half of the strategy: challenging the new incumbent now that they’ve dodged his opponent.
“We’re not looking for a politician,” local party members tell Capheus in the show. “We’re looking for a leader.”
Off-screen and in this world, millions and millions of ordinary people are too.