Although we are quickly approaching June 5, the day of the first set of elections this year, the local elections, what is happening now at the centre of Romanian politics, beyond television screens and the uninterrupted flow of virtuality, seems taken out from a dystopian world.
A world in which a catastrophic event with irreversible effects took place, a world in which the few survivors turned into mutants that are trying to live in groups engaged in a life and death struggle in order to control what is left of the world of humans.
Romanian politics has long since gone beyond the crisis phase, just as it went beyond the transition phase or the rearrangement and restructuring phase.
At this moment, Romania is facing another great paradox, one of the many that have ground the Romanian world throughout the last 26 years, and especially the Romanian political world and its development.
The complete lack of viable candidates.
The current parties are in the midst of a climactic crisis, an acute lack of solutions in what concerns a formula that they could present to the Romanian public, a public that has reached oversaturation and an extremely complicated and dangerous form of rejecting any of their attempts to present their proposals and candidates as subjects of ruling power for the next 4 years.
Although it seems things are unchanged and the political carries on doing what it knows to do best, the signals coming from civil society with an ever-growing intensity represent the true barometer that no ordered or cosmeticised opinion poll can hide or cancel.
Dissatisfaction and boredom have left their permanent imprint on all that is Romanian, urban, natural and casual.
People are fed up with all that the political is and has been doing for 26 years. People are facing, on a daily basis, a reality that surpasses and brutally warps any form of political propaganda, any populist discourse, any televised debate that talks, as in a continuous mind-boggling and grotesque auction, about the eternal pre-electoral offers we unfortunately got accustomed to during the 26 years of nothingness with pretentions and democratic values.
Overwhelmed by the situation and (apparently) panicked by the dissolution that is grinding their forces and is making them lock horns like rams disputing their territory and supremacy over the herd, political parties have rummaged in all corners and dusty chests crammed up with demagoguery and populism and have reached, for the time being, a terrible reality that would raise an immense and insurmountable problem for any serious party: who do we put up for auction?
As if it was not enough that wherever you turn you are constantly bombarded by a torrential flow of investigations, corruption, arrests, convictions, embezzlement, high-level prostitution, fixed political games and many other afflictions that make the Romanian atmosphere unbreathable and unlivable, the political parties with their eternal faces and mentalities that are completely aloof from Romanian realities deem fit to hatch, every week, laws and gimmicks that are anything but good and can bring anything but votes and positive choices.
In a suicidal drive, the leaders of the large party castes that hold supremacy at this moment on the esplanade of political stars – Social Democrats and Liberals – have deemed fit to concoct and ferment laws against defamation (whose and for whom?), amendments to the electoral law in the midst of an elections year, laws for prevention that seem taken out from gulag or concentration camp practices, and all sorts of nonsense and anachronisms which surpass by far the bleakest and most sinister samples of inability to adapt and harmonize, albeit circumstantial, to the far too numerous and overwhelming problems that each of us faces on a daily basis.
For the regular Romanian, the one who on a daily basis has to venture out in the jungle called Romania, the political left or right wing no longer represents anything else but a continuous reason for frustration, indignation, surprise and anger.
One could say immense panic goes through the political high society, from whatever angle one looks at it, giving it some of the most unfortunate and awkward impulses.
Parties have stopped existing long ago in Romania. It is not even known and cannot be said with certainty whether they actually existed or whether the single party that continued to live amorphously and amoeba-like was the communist party, formally split and divided into names, logos and symbols, which claimed to be of democracy and multiparty system as required by any political science textbook.
Moreover, it seems neither luck nor destiny has smiled on the big power machinery in recent months.
Since the Colectiv event, far too soon forgotten and far too quickly annihilated by the waves of daily routine and commonality, something has fundamentally changed in the mentality of the regular man in Romania.
I do not know whether this change took place consciously for most Romanians, however that moment of catastrophic impact on the unfortunate night of October 30 certainly sped up and opened up in people a huge consciousness that manifests as a fully triggered alarm system.
What is striking and outright ostentatious in the behaviour of the political class is that none of those now in power seems to correctly understand or care in any way about this silent warning that is growing day by day and that risks transforming everything into another outburst on another black Tuesday, Friday or Sunday of politics.
Because it seems Romanians have a longer latent period in contrast to other more impetuous and fierier people, however, once the critical mass threshold is reached, history proves that Romanians are not and never were the people that would willingly accept, for unlimited time, the oppression, tyranny and indifference of their leaders.
So, if today were June 5 and Romanians were supposed to go and vote, what would the situation be and how would things go?
How and what would the parties display on the nation’s voting counter?
What is the calculus that makes the power brokers think that a Cristian Busoi, a Gabriela Vranceanu Firea, an Emil Boc or any other eternal and unchanged face, persons who have become sort of grotesque monuments of the last quarter of century of local politics, will represent the Romanians’ option on June 5?
I believe the political should engage in a minimal exercise of intelligence, because it is clear imagination is not a friend of theirs and it never won an award in the economy of local political mentality, and to overlap, albeit just for a moment, the way the current Government, the technocratic one, appeared and was installed.
A step back would reveal a truth even more encompassing and obvious – the emergence of Klaus Iohannis. Which represented the biggest sign of the Romanian nation’s oversaturation in the face of the Romanian political class’ continued sinking and deleterious inertia.
Permutations and combinations meant to freshen and slacken public opinion and its attention from what matters in the essence, namely the lack of any solution and, consequently, the lack of any candidate with vote-winning potential, are being tried.
There are rumours that the parties are thinking about bringing in candidates that are outsourced politically and from the point of view of party membership.
The political does not prove to have a more productive imagination on this chapter either, that of outsourcing and apparently isolating the subject from the object and background intent, since the Ciolos Government is the perfect sample of apolitical intentions and of niche political calculus hit by resounding failure.
Far too unorthodox measures are being tried out, mixing the Government and the President in order to whitewash and freshen the political class’ completely rumpled and eroded image in the face of the great ballot box test this year.
“Civically humanized” pawns such as platforms, initiatives and movements, which in essence have the same root and the same interests, have been thrown into the game, circumstantial political props and substitute players that sit on the unseen benches of the opportunities of big moments that call for change.
What is not being done and no mind from the political arena is thinking of doing – despite the fact that it is more than obvious that this could be a redeeming step, a breath of fresh air in the sea of socio-political exhaust emissions that are increasingly engulfing Romania – is precisely what each of the fresh actors on the recent political scene – the post-political Government and Romania’s elusive and chimerical President – promised and claimed they will be doing the moment they end up at the helm of state hierarchy through the will and representativeness of Romanians – communication and dialogue with people, with the street, with Romania’s citizens.
And this direct dialogue, which goes beyond the barrier of virtuality in which our lives and options have unfortunately been transferred to, especially by the political, should exist on case-by-case basis, continuously, pre- and post-electorally and should especially be physically tangible, as it is written in the textbook of democracy.
Because voting is not a virtual issue. The vote that the political is waiting for and it demands from every Romanian is not limited to a Facebook “like” and to a complete isolation from all that the voter’s life and needs mean.
Let us imagine today is June 5.
Today, I, you, we, they have to get out (or not) and freely and democratically express our choice for those that will lay the stakes of our life and death in the next 4 years.
What will you do with your vote when you enter the voting booth, open that ballot, pick up the voting stamp and… PSD, PNL, UNPR, MP, ALDE, PSD + ALDE, UNPR + PSD + ALDE, MP + PNL, PSD + UNPR + ALDE + MP + PNL…=…Why and for which of us?