A few months ago Poland re-elected Andrzej Duda as president. None of my Polish friends were pleased with the election results, and my boss called Duda "the Polish version of Trump," except Duda will be around for another five years. Krakow is a very liberal city and so many of the conservative elements of Polish politics don't affect me, but I also was able to ignore many of the effects of having Trump as a president since I was living in liberal Seattle. Don't get me wrong, I was very upset about our first Trump election and I absolutely do not want to be in the same presidential position as Poland in three months.
I should start with the caveat that I know very little about Polish politics, but a few news stories have crossed my path that I think are important lessons to learn from.
Poland is ranked as the worst country in Europe for LGBT rights. Duda ran on a family-first campaign, a big part of which is to make it even harder to live a "normal" life as a gay couple, including constitutional amendments to ban same sex couples from adopting and support of "LGBT-free" communities and municipalities. Earlier this month there was a protest that ended hauntingly similar to the Black Lives Matter marches we've seen in the US: heavy police intervention and violence. The full news story can be found here. But it's not all bad. Those "LGBT-free" free towns have been denied EU funding, and if you've seen anything Polish in the news, you probably saw something semi-positive. A handful of political leaders stood as the LGBT flag in visual protest during Duda's swearing in ceremony.