I have been watching for years how our social identity invariably always bears an “-ist” suffix.
Similarly, I have been watching for years how election campaigns and political discourses are grafted on the idea of unity, dialogue and of a happy blossoming couple that the political milieu forms with the social milieu. Namely with me, with you, with us, all of those outside political membership.
I have been hearing how various politicians, regardless of the political party they say they represent, invite us to no longer be as separated and recalcitrant.
Not among ourselves and not toward them, the politicians. And, obviously, in all these discourses, for the fault of us being so estranged to each other, other politicians who estranged and segregated us are presented as culprits, only for others to then appear, also from among them, and nominate themselves founders of a unitary and strong Romanian social milieu. And this happens cyclically, with each campaign and transition of power.
Nevertheless, from one cycle to the next, nothing changes for the better. The separation deepens, while our identity as citizens, as part of society and of the state, is given to us almost exclusively depending on the orientation and stance we have concerning one political camp or another.
There is a lot of isolation in Romania.
The political milieu considers and manifests itself like a caste and an absolutely intangible circle.
The social milieu is segregated, drastically portioned in categories that lack any well- and correctly-defined identity and without any real bridge between them. And the only link between the political and the social is one based especially on conflict. From the most banal to the most important aspects of our lives, everything derives from a permanent conflict between us and the politicians.
The highly-invoked dialogue and communication that any politician calls for and puts at the top of the list of promises and of the “to do” list do not actually exist.
Politicians hold their hands wide open and smile on banners that promise absolute and paradise-like unity among us and them. They talk a lot and often on television and on Facebook. Only there! They organise events for party members and, if need be, as supreme sign of openness and tolerance, they initiate debates in which the participants are the same faces from the circle close to and in the service of the politician. To access these events, you need identity card, relations and connections. And… that’s roughly what the political milieu’s interaction with us, the people of this country, is limited to.
Otherwise, our politicians do not walk among the people, do not use public transport, do not go to local markets to shop or to any other public venues like any of us. And when they do, they happen to be accompanied by the campaign staff and by an endless line of journalists, to capture the moment.
So much for spontaneity and desire to interact with the public!
And we, the people, are talking. Because that’s all we have left in what concerns the political.
We are talking among ourselves, and most of the time in a conflictual manner. The conflict inherently born out of our inability to distance ourselves from the politicians we are talking about. We fill up Facebook walls and, increasingly frequently lately, we go out and protest. Protests have become the maximum and extreme form of our action, whose basis is still conflict and which, despite any appearances (increasingly less maintained by a political milieu that has become openly disinterested and bored with them), represents only closed, unilateral communication and, consequently, inefficient and in the end useless for us. I may even say unfavourable, because we have become ever more estranged and weakened by the war pitting them against themselves and us against ourselves.
And the political milieu thrives in parallel with this, growing faster than Prince Charming and becoming just as intangible as Prince Charming.
Of course, there is also a more than obvious reason why the political milieu would never want to see happening what it simply states in its discourses and which should happen, being the very reason for the existence of politics.
A strong social milieu will always be the one which, through its power, will be able to censure and force the political to do what must be done for the social milieu, not just for the political one.
Because, in practical politics, your opponent is the social milieu, not another politician. Paradoxically. I would say that Romanian politics excels from this standpoint, reaching the level of art.
Through my work, I have the chance to meet, almost daily, dissatisfied people willing to relay their needs and opinions so that they would be truly listened to. People bereft of their social instrument of expression and unable to express themselves in the face of a political milieu that should be capable and especially willing to offer feedback and a reaction of materialisation.
The political can access us whenever it wants. On the other hand, the reverse is not true. And if in the end this contact does take place, leaving aside the exigencies related to protocol and the numerous barriers, our own weakness intervenes, a weakness created by the separation we are living in and the exaggeration through which we look at the political milieu. But, at the same time, we are afraid of this link, seeing it as contamination on whose heels we would be losing our last drop of identity, respect and credibility.
The social milieu needs guidance. And the social milieu needs to be guided, correctly fuelled and maintained other than in a negative fashion or via the political milieu or apparently civil entities that are in fact assigned to the political.
However, in our country there are people who avoid any contact with the political as if it were the plague. Although, most of them are people who excel in their professional domain and may have valuable and absolutely necessary contributions for us all, but who stay away from any such link. Even though it does not entail political “conversion,” but only contact from neutral positions. Because, automatically, this would mean negative labelling. Being identified with a segment toward which confidence is an entirely foreign concept. And this would directly lead to the loss of credibility, and not just of professional credibility.
Some of them can create the bridge and really bridge the gap between the social and the political milieus. They can help us, citizens, not only shape our true social identity, but especially represent it efficiently and in a targeted manner before the political milieu. Just as they can help the political milieu understand that, apart from the eternal and generally valid conditioning created by the party membership card and the lining up in a regiment of a certain political stripe, citizens can be and must be active contributors to the state’s life.
“THEY” are people who, regardless of how they call themselves, are movers and shakers in all fields and aspects that concern our daily activity. Our life, our feelings, our ideas, our desires and, especially, our inabilities and fears.
These people represent a professional segment that emerged relatively recently in Romania, however an extremely valuable one, with exceptional results certified in other countries from which we obviously borrowed this value. And the added value these people bring to the professional value we all have is that of having already went through training that allows them to wield mechanisms and concepts we keep running into at every step and in each of our activities at all levels of the state, but about which there is far too little talk.
At this moment, these people are known as trainers, coaches, mentors, etc., etc., and have so far been assimilated with and in the key areas of society, such as business, education, management of any type, wellness. But certainly not in politics. And, in particular, certainly not as instruments and ways of setting the social in line with the political and vice versa.
What I have been trying to say in this editorial is the fact that in the last decades Romania has covered a very long road to reach the area of the civilised world and that these efforts were not made by the political milieu most of the time. On the contrary. The political milieu was a brake and an obstacle in the path of Romania’s good reputation and image in the world.
However, the regular people who are outside the political milieu have made possible the absorption in our country – from the civilised world – of a degree of learning, training, harmonisation and most of the times of excellency.
On the other hand, the political milieu has used this reservoir every time to take credit, before foreign political milieus, for this performance made with great effort, with containment and humiliations from none other than the political milieu itself.
And, in the end, I want to stress the idea of inviting the political to show its openness, to come to greet these professionals, the people who toil and perfect themselves every day, trying to make the best out of the huge and overwhelming general social disappointment, but also out of that valuable seam we still have as national human potential.
And this call of mine comes now, at this moment in which Romania, alongside all the other European states, is going through the gauntlet of history when, once again, the difference made by a Romania that is harmonised and in line with the values and the standards of states that are on one level or another of the Europe that starts from now on can be made solely by people and the value that they bring with them in the name of their countries and in the name of a unitary and strong continent divided by no one and nothing.