(Commentary) The world is not threatened by dancing prime ministers. Barely by female heads of government. The threat arises from aging men, excited and inspired only by their own mirror image.
It has caused quite the stir, mainly among the press, that Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, has let herself be filmed while dancing and enjoying her life. The videoes were private and never meant for the public eye. Yet, that is where they found their way, perhaps as a result, if I am to believe the speculations, of Russian troll factories.
Finns do not care
Recent opinion polls show that most Finns do not find anything offensive or anything which threatens Finland's security, either among photos or videoes of their prime minister.
Sanna Marin (36), however, as one of the world's youngest, if not the youngest, head of government, has taken the criticism to heart. Recently, she was reduced to tears in front of a crowd of people, who still celebrated her. The pressure has been immense, but so far not damaging to her political career or ability to rule the country.
In other words, a both dancing and crying prime minister.
A prime minister, who in between her expressions of remorse, also sends a message to all who participate in politics or are interested in politics: Even a politician can feel the longing for "joy, light, and fun".
A both dancing and crying prime minister.
The message is no less than an expression of sadness from a fresh-faced politician who has stood firm, first through a pandemic, then a belligerent neighbor.
She has led Finland through a lightning-fast process out of non-alignment and into the NATO community, almost enclosed by political geriatrics.
Enclosed by geriatrics
I write 'enclosed' because her future challenges do not just involve dealing with the belligerent Vladimir Putin. A legislative amendment creates the possibility of him remaining president until 2036. He will then be 83 years old.
'Enclosed', because if Finland's NATO application is approved, and it probably will, she will meet 79-year-old Joe Biden. And perhaps, even worse, a 78-year-old Donald Trump after the US election in 2024.
To put the label "joy, light, and fun" on the political abusers of power in the USA or Russia, would be like trying to squeeze water out of a stone. Sanna Marin does not only represent a whole other generation of politicians than those who dictate the world. So far, she has also shown herself as a politician who stands for something and takes accountability for her actions.
Four of eight Arctic heads of government are women.
Unlike her American or Russian colleagues, she did not run for office to torment others. She does not dream of returning to the Middle Ages.
Joy and light
On the contrary, she says that she, in the dark shadows of the war, has allowed herself to be human and that she has felt a longing for joy and light.
Four of eight Arctic heads of government are women aged 36 to 55 years.
That is not in itself a guarantee for anything.
However, it carries a hope of a future where the heads of governments' excessive self-admiration is replaced by respect and understanding for the people they are chosen to lead.
Heads of governments who are dancing with the people. Not stepping on them.
This commentary was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.