My privileged Swedish bubble

I live a very privileged life in Sweden. I know it. I have a great job, a decent income, I own my flat in Stockholm’s trendiest inner-city area, I travel, I eat out at restaurants, I consume. I’m happily married, we have lots of friends, a BMW, trips to the theatre and to dinner parties. We have a country house. Everything’s smooth. Even at the A&E on Sunday after I sprained my ankle, I was in and out in less than 2 hours. Sweden has made this lifestyle possible for me, and many others. But it’s a privileged bubble we live in. We’re not confronted by the poverty in the suburbs, by the substance abuse in families. We don’t witness the children who fall out of the system because they happen to be born in a certain area, to certain parents. Our children are well-groomed, well-fed and well educated. We don’t see the horrors in old people’s homes, nor do we have to scrape together every last krona just to put food on the table because we’re sick, or injured or unable to find work. But this exists in Sweden. From our little bubble we just don’t see it. But it’s there. There are widening gaps in Swedish society between the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, the sick and the healthy, the urban and the suburban, the always beens and the newly arrived. And the uncomfortable truth is the wider these gaps become, the more stretched our bubble becomes. And one day this bubble will explode.

Voting in an election is our democratic right. The dilemma is how we vote. Do we vote for what is good for ourselves or for what is good for our society? Do we protect ourselves or do we lift our eyes and look out of our bubble and see that what benefits society in the long run benefits all of us?

On Sunday, we make that choice.

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