My comment on LGBT protest upstages Duda’s swearing-in as Polish president by Oliver Moody in The Times, 6 August 2020.
My report from Poland on that day would be completely different.
I would first note that the day before, on August 5, the Polsat News tv channel broadcast an advertisement for a model kit of the Trabant, the car of the East German Communist regime. I posted a copy of the ad on my Tweeter feed. You can buy your child a little toy symbolic of the totalitarian regime to play with. This is nothing unusual in Poland, as you might notice at gas stations, at other shops, or at the Warsaw airport, where you can buy models of other Communist cars as well. This link with the Communist past is not accidental. It signifies a real and present continuation of Communism, which is carefully masked by a pseudo-democratic spectacle.
The next day, on August 6, the same Polsat News channel, along with other stations, broadcast live the entire holy mass at noon, celebrating the inauguration of Duda’s second term in office. Religious ceremonies have been integrated into the state choreography over the past thirty years in a way similar to post-1990 Russia. As a tool of the state, a way to conquer history and ideas.
The holy mass seemed as real as the Trabant kit.
The cultural conflict referred to in the article is non-existent. It would exist naturally in normal circumstances as a lesser issue but here it is being artificially whipped up and played as a provocation, as a decoy. Political technologists in Poland are veterans of deception and production of a fake narrative. They are veterans of provocation. They know how to bait western media, who will jump at every opportunity to reinforce their own prejudice. Prejudice, however, is not a good cognitive guide.
Popularization of the Trabant kit is not an isolated incident. Not long ago, you could buy the “Welcome to the party” poster with Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Castro drawn as party guests having fun. A local restaurant presented pictures of Lenin, Stalin, and the post-WWII Polish Communist leader Bierut in a painted decoration of its windows. There was no problem, although there is a law forbidding to glorify and propagate totalitarianism and its symbols.
The falsification of state documents, including school and university certificates, is a fact. This is not even hidden. This is the way it was before 1990. It remained this way. There was no rush to truth and authenticity. The new ruling class is the same as the old ruling class.
So, whether it is Duda in the office or non-Duda, it does not matter. Also, the constitution has a similar importance as before 1990, i.e. none. It never mattered since 1944.