Personally, I blame the European Union. I understand why they did what they did and I know that their intention was to try and encourage “Little Brother” by inviting him into their club so that he could grow up and be as brave and strong as all the Big Boys and Girls at the table. I get that. But it was a very bad mistake nonetheless.
I appreciate it quite a lot when I see parks, streets and transportation lines upgraded, renovated and fixed with EU money. I appreciate more than you will ever know when I see my hard-working Romanian friends get grants from the EU to help them open their own businesses, or the chance to study at another university, or to get valuable experience volunteering with organizations operated by the EU. I’ve even had fun after midnight playing on the children’s playground equipment that the EU has so kindly provided.
But there’s one thing the EU forgot – and that’s teaching Romanians what democracy actually means. Actually, I don’t expect they know much about it. The British just spent 14 billion on their stupid Games while at the same time forking over hundreds of millions to upkeep an old bag with her sour lemon face living a life of luxury in her multiple palaces while doing nothing except providing “moral support” to a nation still illegally occupying one third of the island next door.
I don’t expect Romanians to learn from Italy, who have had over 60 different governments since the war, governments that actively collaborated with terrorists to bring death and destruction on their own people. I don’t expect Romanians to learn about democracy from Germany, not the Stalinist enclave of former East Germany nor the so-called “free” half of West Germany, literally run by a cadre of high-ranking former Nazis, including the Chancellor (Prime Minister) himself.
I don’t expect Romanians to learn democracy from the Norwegians, who now believe in their arrogance that their petroleum wealth will keep people from forgetting their fascist past, which occasionally still comes to the surface. I don’t expect Romanians to learn it from old King Juan Carlos of Spain, who gets his ass kissed at home as the defender of democracy after letting a bloodthirsty dictator die peacefully in his sleep after 40 years of terror.
Nor do I expect Romanians to learn democracy from Greece or Portugal, each run by a cadre of military generals, nor France, now on its fifth attempt at democracy. I don’t expect Romanians to learn democracy from the Americans either, who squashed their one true experiment in democracy (1776) with the odious form of government they enacted after the war (1789). No, quite frankly, I don’t blame Romanians for not understanding democracy.
After all, the original form (from the Greek meaning “rule of the people”) was a glorified lottery in which only a few rich men got rotating assignments. All the children, the poor, the women and all the slaves didn’t get shit. Only the rich property owners got to strut around and have their say, which isn’t a whole lot different than what we’ve got here in Romania, except that it’s a tiny bit less sexist these days.
Let me ask you, if you enrolled in a four-year university program of studies but never went to class, never once showed up to listen to the various professors, never engaged in classroom discussions, not just for the first semester or second semester but for years and years, and then finally, on the very last day of school in your very last year, you entered the building for the first time and took a single final exam, would that count as “attending university”?
If you somehow passed that final exam, perhaps because it was a single question on a single sheet of paper, saying something like, “Do you like Coca-Cola, yes or no?” with either answer counting as a passing grade, and the university awarded you a diploma for that, would you really consider yourself as having earned a degree? Would you consider yourself worthy of being deemed a scholar and that future employers should reward you for your efforts in improving your life?
Folks, showing up to vote once every four years does not make Romania a democracy. It doesn’t make you some kind of morally superior member of society. The next person who wants to crow about how their voting yesterday is some kind of ennobling act can shove their buletin de vot up their ass. If you went and voted yesterday, that’s your right to do so. But showing up one day every few years to do less work than a fucking movie critic does not make Romania a democracy nor you a contributor to the betterment of your country.
Democracy, quite frankly, is hard work. I look at these clodhoppers in Teleorman, Olt or Mehedinti, all of them showing up in record numbers to vote (presumably) thumbs down on Basescu when they couldn’t be bothered to show up just last month to vote for local elections, you know, the mayors, city councils and county prefects who actually affect their day-to-day lives, and I don’t call that much of a democracy.
Democracy means knowing who your mayor is, who your vice mayors (if any) are, and what they vote on. Do you know what rules or regulations your city council has passed this entire year? Do you have any idea how they voted or what they didn’t vote on?
Democracy means knowing who your member of parliament in Bucharest is, who your senator is, and paying attention to what they do. Showing up yesterday to vote on a referendum set into motion by a secret vote with balls in an urn is not fucking democracy.
Democracy is watching these bastards like a hawk, knowing when they’re busy sleeping through Senate votes, not cheering them on as they steal power just because a certain former sea captain made you feel stupid like the illiterate pig farmer that you are. Democracy means knowing who your representative is in the European parliament in Brussels. And above all else, calling and writing these snakes and holding them accountable to you, the person they brag about representing. If you haven’t contacted them and expressed your opinion, guess what? They’re not representing you. And that’s no democracy at all.
So go ahead and pat yourself on the back that you’re still to this day being represented by a Prime Minister that the entire world knows is a thief and a fraud. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back for being allied with people who spit on and insult Ioana Basescu, who never held a political office in her life. Go ahead and give yourself a big thumbs up for having wasted a colossal 155 million lei for absolutely nothing, not one drop of medicine, not one ban going to your grandmother, not one single pencil in a single fucking school. Go ahead and toot your own horn and then meanwhile get back to the fields and start loading up your rusty shitwagons with watermelons because I’m hungry.
Democracy is hard work. We are beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish members of all parties. But they’re not going to change or do one single thing different until democracy is an every day thing, when it is up to you every single day to watch these vipers and every single thing that they do, when it is up to you to write them, call them, protest in the street, sign petitions and stand outside their palaces and let them know you mean business.
Showing up at the beach with your beer belly hanging over your shorts once every few years is not enough. Leaving a few angry comments on a blog is not enough. And crying in your tuica about what the mean old Hungarians are (or are not) doing is not enough.
Turn off the TV. Close down your torrent software. Wipe the sunflower seeds off your chin and get to work. Otherwise you’ll get nothing more than what they decide to give to you. And friends, let me tell you, it won’t be much at all.