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Family is the foundation, Mr. Dziejaszek!

03 of February '23

The column is from the 10|22 A&B.

One shouldn't eat before going to bed, and I inadvertently ate a piece of cherry pie before climbing into bed. Like the boy from the old comic strip "Little Nemo in the Land of Dreams," I began to dream of faraway places and wonders somehow out of this world. So I dreamed of a new player on the political scene of a certain Eastern European republic.

He had a meticulously trimmed mustache and a self-made jacket called "sporty" by the English. His stature was average and in general he resembled a retired military doctor from Conan Doyle's series of books. Well, so the press conference is underway, as the presidential election is approaching. Moustache enters the stage, stands in front of a lectern with the logo of his newly registered party, and then an innocent question comes from the floor: "And what do you think about the traditional family?" Moustache said: "I hold a conservative view on this issue." A murmur of recognition is heard from representatives of the patriotic media. "I believe," the candidate continues, "that the family is the basis of society and that it should be protected, family values should be promoted and the family should be actively helped..." - here he suspends his voice theatrically, and tears of emotion shine in the journalists' eyes. "And by extension, I believe that everyone should have the right to establish and have their own supportive family." There is consternation in the room, with the gentlemen journalists in pumps and lorgnons looking at each other uncertainly. "I am of the opinion that the very understanding of the family as a basic social unit should include families consisting of single mothers and their offspring, child-bearing couples not united by marriage ties, grandmothers and grandfathers raising their grandchildren alone, and single-sex couples who want to have children," - declares the politician as if nothing ever happened.

"Because we all need support and care, regardless of age, and to deny someone love in the name of pure desire to punish or because of dogmatism is evidence of smallness and sadistic tendencies, or at best a low level of sensitivity and a deficit of imagination." Silence falls, after which no uproar erupts in the hall and no one curses the rainbow plague. Journalists, as one husband and wife, begin to discuss that, all in all, right, because, after all, people are equal, that mental health requires the support of loved ones, not rejection and inflicting suffering on each other. After all, everyone craves family, except perhaps for the times when a person gets fed up with brats flying around the apartment and escapes to go fishing for a few hours or give himself a decent manicure. The candidate's opinion, meanwhile, goes out to millions of his fellow men and women, to use a coined feminative for the purposes of this text, and the politician wins the election, because everyone is, after all, for love, and not just for the religion of love once introduced by fire and sword in their country.

Some time later, in his Eastern European homeland, pairs of blushing dads are escorting their children to kindergarten, no one is persecuting single teenage girls who get pregnant, instead the government is doing everything to make them want to give birth and raise their offspring, instead of putting them in jail if they don't want to give birth after all. People are given knowledge by the State as to what choices they have, and they use those choices consciously with the tools available in every hospital. And because the State supports them and their offspring every step of the way, citizens willingly join together or separately to have children at a rate of at least 2.10 to 2.15 young ones per adult couple. "Because when people are given a choice, they choose family," - states the newly appointed president with conviction.
I awoke from this dream only to trot over to a nearby toilet, as quietly as possible so as not to wake anyone. As I walked back in the dark I hit the architectural barrier of the threshold with the little toe of my foot. Limping, I returned to our scaled-down bed, cursing the ignoramus who designed my apartment without dealing with the problem of reconciling floor layers. Somehow, however, I fell asleep and sleep returned, but already different.

So here I am again in the aforementioned imaginary republic, only that at the press conference a different candidate is already standing at the rostrum, or rather, a candidate with the appearance of a model and a vegetal name. The airy and virginal innocent creature is surrounded by guys in polyester blazers with too long sleeves and clenched jaws. "Answering this very legitimate question... - he begins almost panting and shooting glances of eyes armed with very long eyelashes - I would like to make it clear, probably to everyone here, that the family must be protected at all costs!". A murmur of approval is heard from the room. "In particular, it should be protected, safeguarded and protected from the evil influences of those who take as good coin perverse fashions, from across the border you know, and who want to distort this family of ours in the name of some conceptual expansion of its definition." The lady wags around the room. It seems that no one in the room wants to expand anything, so she continues. "Because the family is only one. There is only one set of truths and principles. One possible source of love and one are the guardians of that love. Us!". A man in a strange cap and gown standing to her right nods sternly. "Because children belong to the nation, just like the bodies that give birth to them and the bodies that raise them!" - she continues. "And let those who think otherwise prepare for punishment!" - he completes, raising an angelic hand, and suddenly a bolt of lightning strikes the worn-out stave of the room from the ceiling with a bang. Silence. The journalists shake off the smoke, smoothing their own and non-owner's electrified hair. After a moment, applause erupts. Men in polyester jackets pat the angelica on the back, she kisses the ring of a gentleman in strange headgear, who winks at her good-naturedly.

The country is outright raving about her. Angelica, of course, wins the election. On the day the composition of the government is announced, she sings for the crowds from the balcony of the Presidential Palace. Confetti and ovations follow. Soon after, huge public investments are set in motion, including labor camps scattered across the country's wilderness for mothers unwilling to give society an offspring. Dam boxers get grants from the government as part of a program to promote the Manual of Good Family Practices. The wealthier and more resourceful divorcees, those stubbornly in informal relationships and homosexuals are leaving on the last trains to Berlin. Representatives of various minorities are invited to leave for Siam. Disheveled feminativist architects, ministers and lawyers are disappearing. Those who have not managed to break through the fences of the train stations go underground in customs. Singles are caught out on the streets and subjected to rehabilitation courses that invariably end with the exchange of rings on the wedding cake in the only possible kind of institution. Also caught are youths with hair that is too long, whose shags are immediately cut to nothing in trucks. The youngsters kiss their parents' hands, know where the leather discipline hangs at home, and sing only local songs meticulously checked by the relevant office. The same office requisitions devices that are supposedly used for massage, and publicly burns condoms, or suspicious books and pills that smugglers have somehow smuggled into the country.

Parades, marches, processions and demonstrations of support are underway. The country seems happy. Only somehow children stop being born, if one excludes the litters of Heroine Mothers to whom the government distributes orders, wagonloads of diapers and Zepter pot sets. Dusk is falling faster, and there seems to be less air.

I wake up from this dream all red, breathless, as if someone sat on my chest during the night. I look around, fortunately this is our room, here and now. The middle of the week, outside the window Indian autumn. I poke my elbow at Black Mamba, singer of the queer-metal band Big Richard, and by day a cook in a Senegalese restaurant, who slowly lifts his muscular ebony body clad only in a worn-out t-shirt with Judas Priest written on it. I wake up my partner Strong Jain, a champion of women's wrestling, and her lover, the head-to-toe tattooed Mei Lin called the Catwoman of Shanghai. Now it's the turn of our children, seven gorgeous urchins sleeping in the large bedroom next door. The oldest has a test today on the history of polyamory as part of the subject of Jender and the Future. Well, he just can't be late for school for our dear Behemoth! The dog barks happily and wags his tail to let us know he's counting on a walk. Over a vegan breakfast, I tell everyone my strange dreams. First there are laughs-giggles, then a moment of reverie ensues. I look at the Kazimierz Lyszczynski statue outside the window and think to myself that Professor Roszkowski didn't save his world from complete collapse after all.


Jakub Szczęsny

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