By now, we should have a good idea of Sunday’s parliamentary election results. They are not the official, 100 percent, definitive results because the losing party might claim fraud and the winning party might also claim fraud. After an official ‘investigation’ the winning party will be declared the winning party and the losers will continue their whining. Like the fake promises, the outcome is also scripted, I guess I just happened to get an advance copy.
Let’s be serious. The only winners will be the hobos who get a seat in Parliament. The newly elected Deputati (MPs) will be very interested in making the country better -for themselves and for their friends. Maybe amongst them are a handful of young idealists, I don’t know who they are, but I wish them well. Instead of going on and on about how selfish, short-sighted, and spineless our politicians are, I’ll make a list of the high-level changes I’d like to see in the next four years.
1. Identify Leaders – A popular slogan in Romania these days has been “I don’t have anyone to vote for.” The situation is so pathetic that there isn’t even a lesser evil of which to speak. Everyone who voted on Sunday is essentially throwing their vote away.
Let’s identify, support, and grow civic leaders for the next election. Let’s promote people who work hard in their communities, who are involved in grassroots efforts, and who truly care about this country. Maybe they don’t want to be in politics, but let’s convince them that they should be. I’m thinking of teachers who inspire, business owners who are examples of efficiency, people -even students – who can galvanize others into action through their passion for a worthy cause. We should take examples from these people but we should also encourage them to become involved in official positions where possible. These are the kind of people who deserve our official votes so that when the next election comes around, we can at least have options.
2. Get Involved – I can’t stress this enough, but you have to get involved. No matter how dirty it feels, no matter how exasperating it is to deal with the bureaucracy, it has to be done. Attend town-hall meetings, contact your city councilors and your Deputy when you have concerns, organize community events if nobody else is doing it. You can complain as much as you want, but if there’s a hole in the sidewalk for years and nobody, including yourself, ever reports it, why would you expect it to ever get fixed? Become familiar with the people representing you at local and federal level and hold them accountable; preferably by dialogue, but at the very least next time when you have the opportunity to vote them out of office. It takes some effort, but Democracy is a two way street.
3. Stop Hating – I’m technically doing it myself. I just called pretty much every parliamentary candidate a crook even though there must be one or two decent people in the bunch. The point I’m trying to make is that we need to stop being so damn cynical about everyone who is trying to do something positive. Sometimes people really deserve it. If somebody drives a BMW it doesn’t mean he’s a thief. If somebody owns a business it doesn’t mean he’s a schmecher. If somebody has a good job, it doesn’t mean their dad hooked it up. If somebody says they want to do something special, don’t tell them that they can’t. There’s nothing stopping you from getting a good job if you deserve it, from opening your own business if you have a good idea and the drive and passion for it, and once you’ve done that, you can ride in a Rolls-Royce if you want, you’ll definitely think you deserve it.
4. Network – Networking doesn’t mean exchanging business cards randomly. A few days ago I got an email from a friend. CCd was a third party, somebody I didn’t know but to whom he wanted to introduce me thinking there was a good potential for collaboration between us. He didn’t email me because he wanted something, he emailed because he was trying to help two other people. That’s beautiful. There are so many good people I meet here that I’m absolutely astounded that when it comes to our politics we don’t have an abundance of good options, let alone one. I believe that part of the reason for this is we don’t network with the intent to help each other by making connections between like minded people. If networking is effective, then over time relationships are made where there are mutual benefits all around. That’s why we began ResetRomania.
5. Help each other – A lot of people say that during communism people were more helpful to each other. We were all in the same boat and therefore more willing to lend a helping hand to neighbors or even to strangers. I don’t quite buy that, if anything changed it’s the times. People used to hitchhike in America well into the 70s and then…serial killer stories got popular. I still think people here are helpful but it’s easy to fall into the trap of individuality where it’s every man for himself. Technically this ties in to everything above. We just need to recognize when others need our help and support, we need to encourage people, to nurture talent and skills, and most importantly we need to understand that as long as we’re split into the camps that the politicians create, we’re weak and we’ll stay weak.
That’s it. It’s not a lot, but these are thing that would help this country tremendously and they have nothing to do with the ‘winners’ in Parliament, but with you and I. Of course, if the government does want to pitch in by implementing some lower level changes from my 5-point plan, then it can only get better.
By Matt Sampalean, Guest Writer
Matt was born in Romania and grew up in a world of ration cards and clandestine Radio Free Europe broadcasts. He emigrated with his parents to Toronto, Canada in 1991 where he spent twenty years before returning to Romania as co-founder of a technology startup. When he’s not working he blogs about his experiences as a person with ‘bipolar nationality disorder’. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Romania -Insider.com.