Mailbag


Oh my word, I have been getting a lot of feedback over the past few days from people (including over 200 comments on Facebook) on a variety of topics.

You know my privacy policy, which means I won’t use any names. I also won’t be using any quotations directly because it’s a little easier to sum up what I’ve been hearing from other people.

Sam, you’re some kind of Hungarian sympathizer and traitor to Romania, etc

I really don’t know how many times I’ve got to say that I am not Hungarian. I speak a handful of words and phrases in the Hungarian language. And not that it matters but none of my family is ethnic Hungarian either. Yes, I live here in Cluj and yes I do know some Hungarians here and yes I am on good terms with some of them but that means nothing. I’m also on good terms with Germans, French and Arab people who live here as well. I judge a person by their character, not their ethnicity.

There seems to be some weird misfire in some people’s minds that if someone criticizes Romania this equates to being “Hungarian” or working as an agent of/for Hungary. That’s extremely simplistic thinking and shows a lack of depth. You certainly don’t have to agree with what I say but at least have the wisdom to realize that I arrive at my opinions and conclusions organically, not due to some kind of “agenda” having anything to do with Hungary or Hungarians.

For fuck’s sake, if I wanted to live in Hungary, I would. I don’t. I choose to live in Romania.

Sam, your piece The Rise and Fall of Traian Basescu proves you’re some PDL agent!

Uh, no. Please pay attention. I am not even a citizen of this country (yet). I am not a member of any party and I can’t vote for any party, even for a bribe *bitter laugh*. I have never received the slightest bit of support, monetary or otherwise, from the PDL party.

In fact, I spent most of 2011 beating my head against a brick wall trying to get a PDL minister (Elena Udrea) to work with me to promote Romania as a tourist destination. I then met the PDL mayor of this town, saw he was an asshole fishing for bribes in an open meeting, and called him out on it on this very website long before he was arrested. I threw a party when this slimeball was sent to jail. I then openly criticized the interim mayor for being another corrupt and arrogant piece of shit.

None of this means I am sympathetic or “in league with” or a support of any other party either. Again, I judge a politician on his/her actions, not the party to which they belong. I’ve appeared in media controlled by “barons” that have all manner of political affiliations. I received not one cent (or ban) in cash from these people. I did it simply because I thought my message was worth getting out to the public.

If and when I ever receive some kind of material support, financial or otherwise, from any political party, I will write about it here and make it very public and obvious. I know Romanians are used to people being devious and corrupt and sneaky but I am not like that. The grand total of gifts I have received for any of my public appearances was a nice tea mug and some fruit tea, which I received for speaking to a private group. THAT IS IT.

Again, my opinions are my own opinions and are not for sale.

Sam, Basescu is the devil and you made him look like a saint

Christ, I hate these over simplifications. Was my piece on him a little on the sympathetic side? Sure, of course it was. I was (and still am) angry because his opponents continually wish to thwart the will of the people (while wasting 155 million lei worth of the people’s money).

When a president is elected, any president (Iliescu included), the deal is that he (or she) gets to serve out their full term. Then you vote again. The people of Romania had a wide range of choices in 2004 (including Gigi Becali) and chose Basescu, okay? That’s how it works. And then in 2009 they also had a wide range of choices and chose to re-elect Basescu. Whether you voted for him or not, whether you like every decision he makes or not, you let him serve out his entire term unless he (or she) does something extremely egregious.

Egregious means selling military secrets to enemy powers, murdering people, stealing public money for private profit, etcetera. It has to be equal to treason in its depth and scope. Otherwise you can express your disagreement (or agreement) with his choices through normal channels. You don’t have to respect the person but you respect the institution of the president.

I had to suffer through 8 years of George W. Bush and his buffoonery and starting wars and all the other crazy shit he did and even though his political opponents won a majority in 2006, they still respected the institution of the presidency at the same time that they hated his guts. I’m not saying it’s all that great a system but it’s the system you got. And if you hate the system itself then follow the procedures and change the system. All constitutions, Romanian or American or French, can be changed (lawfully).

I had a long chat yesterday at the protest here in Cluj with a gentleman who was definitely not a fan of Basescu. I think we came to the agreement that Basescu is certainly not a saint. But as I explained in great detail, I’ve yet to see any evidence of egregious wrongdoing. Christ, I’ve written on this very website how disgusted I was (and still am) with Basescu’s fawning over the American ambassador and how many FBI agents he (Basescu) had allowed to run around unfettered in this country.

I have worked with the FBI (not FOR them) and know a few good agents but I’ve said to their face (are you getting the point yet that I am a pretty direct guy? LOL) that their agency is retarded, their procedures are asinine and backwards, and they’d be lucky to find their own asses with two hands and a flashlight. They regularly trample people’s rights and they are the absolutely most incompetent law enforcement agency in America at solving cases or preventing crime. We don’t need them in Romania and I bitterly disagree with Basescu’s position on this matter.

So no, I’m no “fan boy” of Basescu’s. Just so it’s 1000% clear, I’ve certainly never gotten anything from him or his people, no money, no support, not even so much as a tweet or an email. He has no idea I exist. And yes, I know he has his old pals and cronies and has used his influence to help them out. That’s what presidents and people in power do.

What concerns me is whether or not this ever rises to the level of grave violations of the Constitution or criminal activity. I read the USL’s charges against him and they were laughable, full of shit like quotes where Basescu called them a bunch of babies. If that’s a “grave violation” of the Romanian Constitution then I’m the fifth member of the Beatles.

Basescu makes insecure people feel small and that’s why people hate him. I am confident in who I am and what my abilities are (and what they’re not) and so I don’t feel intimidated or threatened by the man. I don’t think he’s either the devil or an angel. He’s just a man. But he is a man who was elected in a fair election by the people and that needs to be respected.

Sam, why were you at the protest the other day in Cluj?

Again, it has nothing to do with political affiliations, as I have none. I believe that certain members of the government are engaged in serious criminal activity against the people of Romania, and I am not referring to tossing around insults (like calling Basescu “Chucky” from the Child’s Play movies, as one politician did on Friday).

I will save the lengthy analysis (for the moment *mwahaha*) for later on why exactly the USL’s actions of late have risen to the level of criminal behavior but I do want to say that I was at the protests not only to show my solidarity with people who were upset but also to engage in dialogue. I’ve said this before but the greatest benefit that arose out of the “Occupy” movement in the USA was not bodies in the street but the fact that they began talking with people and raising awareness.

I had several conversations yesterday with people, some in firm agreement with my positions, some in complete opposition to my opinions and some that were somewhere in the middle. People were walking by without knowing there was a protest and came over to talk. Everything was done in a calm and polite manner and it was this engagement that I found to be the best part of the protest, not waving signs in front of a camera.

There is a lot more to the democratic process than voting. Discussing and debating the important issues, citizen to citizen, is a key component of this. I really don’t even care if your opinions are diametrically opposed to mine. What I want is for all of us to talk about it, to discuss it, to debate it, to argue (politely) our positions. This is how a democracy fucking works. When ideas and conclusions are generated by someone else and handed down to the people, that’s a dictatorship. A democracy is the people expressing their voices, not just upwards at the politicians but also horizontally amongst each other.

Sam, I am despondent about what’s going on and becoming quite depressed

Well that’s a normal reaction when you feel helpless. If your grandma dies in a bus crash, you feel depressed because there’s nothing you can do to bring her back.

But Romania isn’t a dictatorship (at least not yet). There are plenty of things you can do. Go out to the main square of your town and hold up a sign with your opinions on the current issues. Even if you’re standing all alone, other people will come over and talk to you. Write a letter to your politician or to the politicians you’re concerned about. Call their office(s) and leave them a message. Write them an email.

Every single politician has an official email address. For members of parliament, go to the official website and find your representative (deputat) or senator and there you will see listed their email address. The Constitutional Court and office of the President also have official emails. Be polite but tell them how you feel! They represent you! You’ll feel better when you express yourself. And if 10,000 people write in on a topic, believe me, even the stupidest politician will start feeling the pressure.

Romania is a member of the European Union now. Write your European Parliament representatives or else the heads of the EU government, councils and commissions. If you speak a foreign language, write to the heads of government of other EU leaders in their language. They really do care what the people of Romania think!

Go to websites of TV channels and newspapers. Write comments on their articles and engage in dialogue online with others. The more you express how you feel and the more you can get the conversation going, the more empowered you will feel. Assuming you’re a Romanian citizen (with the right to vote) then your opinion matters. It may not always seem like it but it’s still true. The government is there to serve you, not the IMF, not foreign corporations and not anyone else, only you, the citizens of Romania.

Want to do even more? Start a petition, the old fashioned way. Write up your opinion on a piece of paper and then go meet all of your neighbors. Engage in dialogue with them and get the conversations flowing. See if they will add their signature to your petition and then have it delivered to a television station and/or the government. A thousand handwritten signatures on a petition are worth 10,000 emails or “signatures” on a petition online.

Print up a little flyer (pliant) with your opinions on the matter and stand on the street corner and pass them out to people as they walk by. Engage in conversation with people who are interested. Get the conversation flowing!

At minimum, discuss with your family members and friends what’s going on. Be polite and calm but actually talk about these things. After all, what the government is doing (or not doing) is important and affects us all.

But whatever you do, do not sit at home, alone and despondent. Don’t wait for others (the European Union, Romanian political parties, protestors, etc) to take action first. I would’ve been out in Piata Unirii yesterday whether there were 5 people out there or 50,000. Empower yourself and take action and you won’t feel despondent or depressed. You have full rights as a citizen of Romania and the EU but they don’t amount to shit if you never use them to express how you feel!

Sam, you’re an idiot and I hate you because only Romanians can criticize Romania

Really? Well that’s the position that only an insecure person would take. I write both about reasons I love this country as well as what the problems are. People are not black and white robots, all 100% one thing or another. I have written over 800 articles on this blog alone and you’d have to read all of them (LOL) to even begin to understand the complexity of my viewpoint on this country.

As for “only Romanians” can do anything in Romania, that’s not just racist but also antiquated thinking. Romania is a member of the EU now, which means membership in a larger community, with legal, cultural and societal intertwining the result. A Romanian can study in a British university now and then go to work in Germany all without special papers. Likewise a French citizen can come to Romania and work and live here and be a full member of Romanian society.

Romania is a big country and there are Romanian citizens who are Hungarian, who are Aromanian, who are Polish, who are Russian, who are Turkish, who are Tatar, who are Jewish, who are Muslim, who are atheist, who are Asian, Armenian, and yes even American. All of those people are just as Romanian as anyone else who lives in Romania. All citizens are equal so get that through your thick skull. You don’t have to like them, you don’t have to agree with them but they have the same rights that you do, including to criticize Romania.

Guess what? Democracy is pretty messy. It involves a lot of talking with stupid people and negotiating with idiots. Yes, I know. That’s just how it goes. But if you hang in there, in the end it works out a lot better than dictatorships and authoritarian regimes.

Arrgh, I hate you, bastard!

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even you :)

THANKS FOR WRITING!

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11 Responses »

  1. well said :) keep up writing, criticize us, be honest! :-)

  2. I appreciate feedback in general, although most romanians don’t. There are romanian people sharing your opinions, and I hope that you will keep on writing, because we need it!

  3. Dear Sam. I am dissapointed by your latest blogs. It seems to me that you kinda lost your calling of beeing a keen observer of human soul and actions and got too involved into political stuff. And I really do not like the fact that you seem to be thinking that you are better informed on politics than us, romanians. The fact that you adress this political crisis as “coupe d’etat” is so exagerated that I am really amazed of how far from the truth you came to be – and I am not one of those people that were made to feel less, but I am a 33 years old accomplished person with a degree in political sciences and yet totally a-political, with no other party-pris than the moral values of truth, honesty, and kind-hearted. Please, make a 180 degrees turn to be what you used to be – an important ambassador of Romania and romanians, with all of our beautifull people and land, with our quirkyness and foolishness, with our hospitality and sense of humour. Please.

  4. Thanks for your replies!

  5. Sam, I never accused you of any of the above, but I will “accuse” you of jumping to conclusions a little. Since you came to Romania in 2004 you don’t actually KNOW first hand how the life was during the previous presidents; you only know what you’ve been told by others and that is always tricky. For obvious reasons.
    You are entitled to have an opinion, of course. Just the same, I am entitled to one and I have the right to point out that some of your statements are contradicted by… history, really.

    “When a president is elected, any president (Iliescu included), the deal is that he (or she) gets to serve out their full term. Then you vote again. The people of Romania had a wide range of choices in 2004 (including Gigi Becali) and chose Basescu, okay? That’s how it works. And then in 2009 they also had a wide range of choices and chose to re-elect Basescu. Whether you voted for him or not, whether you like every decision he makes or not, you let him serve out his entire term unless he (or she) does something extremely egregious.

    Egregious means selling military secrets to enemy powers, murdering people, stealing public money for private profit, etcetera. It has to be equal to treason in its depth and scope.”

    That is true – in principle. But not always. Let me remind you that not so long ago you (by “you” meaning USA) have started the impeachment procedures against your president (namely Clinton) FOR LYING TO THE CONGRESS ABOUT HIS SEX LIFE. Not exactly treason, is it? Well, Basescu has lied about much more than who is he sleeping with.
    You had another president against whom you have started impeachment procedures (and he later resigned due to this) BECAUSE HE TRIED TO SPY ON THE OTHER PARTY. He didn’t finish his term, did he?!
    So it occurs to me that either USA is not a democracy or that sometimes presidents can be removed from office even if they are not traitors or killed anyone.

    As for stealing public money for private profit… oh, brother!

    • Mihai, couldn’t have put it better………brilliant ! You definitely have a GLOBAL and, even more so, an ACCURATE view on what it is about !

    • A classic Romanian response there – how dare you criticise our country, because yours isn’t perfect either. I challenge you to find anywhere where Sam has said that his own country *is* perfect!

      We in Northern Ireland suffered from the same thing for years and years (still do to a certain extent) – we call it “whataboutery”, where criticism of one “side” is immediately met with the response “well, what about…{insert criticism of other ‘side’}?” It got us nowhere for 30 years until we all wised up and decided to start to work together.

      Face it folks – you have a wonderful country, with wonderful people and your country could be a strong and prosperous member of the EU, but it never will be until you root out the corruption that is endemic in your society (in day-to-day life, not just in the ruling class). And yes, I’m well aware of how you had to “work the system” during the Ceausescu era, but it really shouldn’t be like that nowadays.

      Until the citizens of Romania take a stand against corruption (from wherever it originates, whether Basescu or Ponta and his cronies), your country will continue to go down the toilet, which is most definitely NOT where it deserves to be.

      (And yes, I have lived in Romania, so don’t give me the old “you’re not Romanian, so you don’t know what you’re talking about” nonsense).

      • oh, yes! most of us tend to make excuses for their lack of performance with a “whatabout” phrase. I am sick and tired. I am Romanian, born in 1980 (so I have had very little of the “golden era” of Ceauşescu), but I have seed the same “je m’en fiche” for all my life., I have worked for the state and there was nothing there about performance, it was only a “we’re pretending that we work, they’re pretending that they pay us”. When I switched sides and work for a Dutch bank, and then for a US multinational., I have learned what it means to perform, to WORK, to do my best. I have appraisals twice per year and I must meet my objectives. I have not seen this applied to the majority of “state workers”. We, in the private system, we can change things, we want to ,we need to be competitive and to prove to our customers that we are good. We do not have time or any incentive to steal or cheat, as the customer is paying in the end, and we want to keep them happy. This is how we should behave in our society as well. Stop looking for guilty parties and start working to get better. The government should be working for us , their Customers. We are paying them taxes, yes, but this does not mean that we shoud not give our best as well.

        Until we stop finding excuses like this “whataboutery”, we will never take a single step further. In the private system, we tend to work our arses out for our income. we give our best. Politicians and government employees should do the same. I feel sometimes stupid, but I feel bad if I am unable to pay for a bus ride (because I forgot my card at home or because the ticket office was closed), but “they” do not feel bad when doing so much worse…. venting stops here ;))

      • Actually you have missed my point.
        Which is not “your contry is not perfect either”; my point is that Sam’s statement is not true, democracy does not work how he said it does. I was saying that since some procedures are acceptable everywhere else they should be acceptable in Romania as well.

  6. Dear Sam, PHEW, recognize you again…..BRAVO for your post !
    I don’t know what happened to you lately but, it seemed that you had lost somehow your objectivity or that something had made you very angry……
    But, with this post you’ve proven that the OL’Sam is BACK :-))

  7. Ok let’s start with the beginning:

    1. The entire Romanian system is a sham; a laughable sham. To put it on the level of the US or French Constitution is laughable as well.

    a.That is because post-1989, “democratic” Romania is basically a less egregious continuation of the communist sytem, by the same nomenklaturist (PDSR, today PSD) and securist (PD, today PDL) people (funny to note how in order to get rid of one monster or another the democratic right had to ally with either of the two parts of the former communist system).

    b.Because of this the current Romanian Constitution and system has no legitimacy whatsoever. Sure some Romanians some time ago voted on it. I couldn’t at the time. Wasn’t there a priciple in (at least common) law that the only thing the people’s representatives can’t do in a Parliament is to legislate for future generations? Well the US broke with that convention when they’ve written their Constitution and that particular act had withstood time. But in Europe that has generally not been the case. Even so, though, in France and Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands, and others, even though constitutions changed, there has been an established tradition of governance (same as in the common law system) that has persevered. That was also true in Romania till the commies came. The Soviets, bent on destroying the Romanian nation, forced communism onto us and NOTHING since then has had any kind of legitimacy whatsoever.

    c.I will admit I am one of the 20%-30% of Romanians who would like to see a parliamentary monarchy (the kind they have in the UK) in Romania; however I am sure that even many republican Romanians feel that the current system is illegitimate. We can feel it in our gut, because we all see it’s a more pleasant, more democratic continuation of the communist establishment. A continuation that allowed the former securists (and some former nomenklaturists) to steal a lot of money from the state and become a nouveau riche aristocracy. That is why I feel that the Constitution of 1923 is the last legitimate Romanian Constitution, and it’s the last Romanian Constitution cause that’s what was de facto used after King Michael had stood up to Hitler and had put an end to the Marshal Antonescu’s military dictatorship.
    [As a side note, I would like you to take notice of the fact that he also tried to stand up to Stalin but he couldn’t because the Western Allies supported Stalin at the time and contrary to popular belief that was not because of Churchill’s “betrayal”; Churchill couldn’t do anything at Yalta as his country was broke and essentially dependent on the US; it was the fault of FD Roosevelt, who, being a leftist, sympathised with Stalin on issues such as colonialism and he agreed to implement a policy together with the Soviets of basically forcing Eastern European countries to undergo stalinisation.]

    d.Because of this sense of illegitimacy of the current Constitution, and because of how badly written and basically unworkable the Constitution has proven to be, and because Basescu and many others have so much discredited the institutions you’re talking about, most Romanians couldn’t give a shit of how the political class will rid us of Basescu as long as it’s done.

    2. Continuing the point at (d.), most Romanians (as shown by sociological studies) do believe that Basescu is the devil and that anything (except for say, commies coming back or nazis coming to power), anything is better than Basescu. Probably out of emotional reflex, we tend to think that anyone not feeling that way is (in a larger or lesser measure) a basist. That’s why you’re being attacked. And no it’s not because of our ego’s (thanks though for adding yet another insult to Basescu’s many). We couldn’t care less if a shmecher thinks he’s better than anybody and everyone else is shit. No, it’s because we’re so frustrated with our government and with its mistreatment of us that we can’t really take it when said government decides to insult us openly and nonchalantly with “tupeu”. So far Basescu has attacked: professors, teachers, students, the doctors, the military, the justice system (until he took controll of it), state employees (ok I wish Romania had a more private economy but at the moment most people are emplyed in some way by the state; it’s a fact of life that in Romania state employee does not just mean bureaucrat but a lot of people who are in other countries privately employed), pensioners (even implying quite obviously that maybe some of them should die and that he won’t shed many tears if they did), mothers (despite our demographic problem), the King, monarchists, actors etc.
    This kind of behaviour creates tensions in society and that’s certainly not the behaviour even republicans would like a “citizen president” to have. Also Romanian society has an old fashioned view of “dignity” and when a President makes such blanket statements and with such perceived hatred, we tend to not like the President that much.

    3. Let me ask you is a blow job an egregious enough reason for a president to get impeached (obviously in Clinton’s case the Congress did not vote to impeach him, but the Republicans tried, they just didn’t have enough votes). Oh wait, oh yeah, it wasn’t for the blow job it was for “obstruction of justice”. Riiiggght. Look we haven’t been born yesterday, we understand that they tried to impeach him because he did something which would have rendered the American society supportive of his impeachment. Same here: people hate Basescu so he’ll be impeached for “disregarding the Constitution”.

    4. The Romanian Cosntitution (I have actually read the document) has 2 provisions for impeaching a President: one is for when the Parliament feels that the President has behaved in an unconstitional manner (the one used now); there is another process for when the president has done something truly egregious such as treason, treachery, murder, etc.

    5. Basescu did try and actually succeeded in securing personal control of state institutions through people that he can crontrol (we don’t know how, but I assume he has something on them, or they profit because of his regime). It is clear to most Romanians that the DNA, ANI and other useless institutions do not really try to tackle corruption, but are instead used as political tools in order to rule society through fear (like stalisnism, but the “soft” version). If you can’t see this you must be truly blind! Things do not work like in the US around here. Maybe you haven’t (yet) managed to acquire the streetsmarts to understand how things work around here, or maybe you’re being naive, or maybe you think PSD are the devil (they are) and that even Basescu is better then them (it’s been proven false so that’s not the case), but I am smart enough for the propaganda not to work on me and I can’t manage to find the intellectual dishonesty within me to say that “DNA is really about corruption”. There are people who can. And there are people who profit somehow from the Basescu regime. And there are people who are naive and don’t know how the world works. And there are people, even intelligent intellectuals who have been fooled, decieved and/or seduced by the propaganda and now they are too ashamed to admit to themselves they were wrong and keep singing the same old tune about Basescu. Well, I liked it too when he issued a condemnation of Communism in the Parliament. I had aslso already figured out that he would be bad, bad news for Romania.
    [As a sidenote, I can also tell you right now: Ponta will be bad, bad news. I don’t have the same feeling about Antonecu though as of this moment, but I’m keeping an open mind! :D Either way, Basescu has to go and after that we can talk about Ponta and Antonescu.]

    6. Basescu is also clearly in league with the Romanian secret services in most people’s view. Now these are not the same old Securitate (some are, but not all). As mentioned, the old securists are now the new rich class. However they operate in the same old way as the Securitate did: journalists have their phones listened illegally (some with illegal warrants, some without warrants), some journalists are even rumored to be under cover intelligence officers, etc. Overall, while it’s less obvious, I believe that most people do suspect that the intelligence services are very much involved and interested in controlling Romanian politics. Maybe it’s not true. Maybe they are not. But a lot of Romanians believe they do and Basescu’s close relationship with the services hasn’t helped.

    7. Because of things discussed at (5.) and (6.), most Romanians feel that Basescu is either dictatorial and that basically even though he isn’t obvious about it like the commies were, he’s in full control of the Romanian society and he likes it, or that he’s not yet a dictator, but he’s on his way there and when he gets there, it’s gonna be obvious but there will be nothing we can do about it because he’ll still have US support (who generally support regimes not based on ideology, but pragmatical concerns). Again, maybe most Romanians are wrong but that’s why we fear Basescu. Now, a lot of Romanians despised Illiescu and Nastase and some romanians hated the centre right parties (PNT, PNL and other former CDR). However, fear of our leaders isn’t something that we’ve felt since Ceausescu and there are plenty of evidence that Basescu likes to be feared. Maybe that’s why we call him “dictatorial”.

    8. You say “this is how democracies work”, that officials serve their full term, but that’s not true: look at a lot of states in the US where there is such a thing as recall elections: if a number of citizens (or maybe the State Congress, I don’t know exactly how it works), consider that a governor should go, new elections can be forced ahead of time (again either by a number of citizens’ signatures or by a legislature vote). This has recently happened in Wisconsin. Now, to Sam’s readers: did Sam not know about this or he simply did not mention it because it damaged his position, isn’t he being a tiny bit intellectually dishonest.
    Personally, I think recall elections are a good idea and I think even the US Congress would work better if you had those for Representatives (maybe not Senators though, there would be a long discussion on who should elect the Senators so I won’t go there).

    9. I like the fact that the Parliament voted to impeach Basescu. What I like is not that I will get to vote against Basescu, but that I’m given a chance to do so. Let’s hear what the people have to say and we’ll talk after that. To my knowledge there hasn’t been, in the entire world history, a coup d’etat approved by a real referendum. Ever.

    10. Basescu did win in 2009, but there were 2 problems with that election, and because of those problems a lot of Romanians consider it illegitimate (and thus Basescu’s presidency as well to be illegitimate):

    a. There is a real question over whether the foreign vote (Romanian citizens who voted outside Romania) were real or not. The media calculated that (for instance) in France, at the Paris embassy, in order for so many pro-Basescu voted to amass, people would have had to be voting once every several seconds. Now, that doesn’t sound right, something was definitely up with the foreing vote and few people in Romania believe that there was no problem with it.

    b. There is a question over the fairness of the rule that Romanian citizens resident in a foreign country get to vote on who the President will be, given that there are so many of them. When there are several million expats out of 330 million population (as it is the case with the US), that would seem like a fair rule, but when there are some 3 million expats from a population of 19 million, that’s a large proportion and questions are being raised that those people have representation without taxation so to say. In other words, why should people living in Spain and Italy decide who’s gonna torture us for 5 years here in Romania?

    c. OK, I realise that similar questions were raised when Bush was first elected and that the Supreme Court decision was respected afterwards by everyone as if nothing reallly happened, and that this is how an advanced civilisation works, by respecting the process, but in light of this the possibility of having recall elections even for the President seems like a very good idea. Now, the US Constitution can’t be changed, specifically because it has withstood time. But in Romania we don’t have a legitimate Constitution yet, so we can try it out. This whole impeachment thing has been working well for us so far in that we really want Basescu gone and we’re gonna vote him out on the 29th, naysayer be damned!

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