“When judging the various political parties, we must distinguish those sincerely political from those that pretend to be political. In our country, parties are not parties of principles but of personal interests.” (Mihai Eminescu – ‘Gandirea politica’)
More than a century ago, the great poet, philosopher, journalist, and political thinker Mihai Eminescu was pouring out through the ink of his pen the whole bitterness and indignation that the political class of those days and its vices had generated in him.
Flagrant corruption, cheap demagoguery, coarse populism, theft of public funds, the daily lie uplifted to the rank of state art, the manipulation of the many under the guise of concern and consideration for the people, state anarchy masked into the multi-party system and democracy, infringement of and complete disregard for all the laws of the country and of any so-called political doctrine, these were the characteristics of the political class back in the times of Eminescu.
Jumping forward in time to our days, in the year 2017, I believe Eminescu’s great and unfathomable spirit would be shaken by the terrible shock of returning to this world and discovering that after more than 100 years the only change that this century brought to Romania was the change of political faces, names and acronyms. The esteemed politicians and their vices have remained the same.
As people and national mentality, we needed 28 years of social convulsions and agitation, political inventions and reinventions, a sham “revolution” horribly and unnecessarily bloody, 40 years of communist dictatorship and two World Wars for us to get back to the place which, in fact, we never left.
In 1918, with the accomplishment of the great national unity, a new political regime was also instituted in Romania. A new and modern vision on the way the country had to transform and become part of a Europe that had entered another great cycle of social, political and economic revolution. Back then, Romania switched from the undemocratic liberalist system to liberal democracy.
Even now, 100 years later, it is still said that those times represented a period of liberal-elitist democratic glory for the Romanian nation.
Were liberalism and the liberals – that national elite that even now, 100 years later, is mourned and invoked by the Romanian people with a sacredness and adoration worthy of the ruined statue of a redeeming god – really representative and constructive for national mentality and for its orientation in the Balkan region of Europe?
Were Romanians ever ready to receive democracy – liberal or not – in the national DNA, to assimilate it and put it in agreement for a new political regime of this extraction to be really born?
Next year marks 100 years since those moments. And, as we can directly, participatively and actively observe, democratic liberalism has failed lamentably in Romania.
It is the second great failure of this type of democracy that Romania experiences in a full cycle of one century.
The reasons for this resounding and painful failure can be noticed by anyone who has lived the last 28 years of the current Romanian century.
The post-1989 Romanian Liberal Party.
An imprecise, incomplete, excessively staged, pompously wrapped in the extravagant cloth of an ideal long dead and buried, pinned on the carriage of history and on the lapel of governance like a plastic carnation for the remembrance of the glory that the interwar PNL was and is no longer.
A party never adapted to the reality of the times and to the mental-traditional possibilities of Romanians and of the country.
We are intrigued to the point of hysteria by the continuous, nightmarish return to power of the communist Left. The one that has been haunting our consciousness as a people for almost a century. We ask ourselves, with astonishment and revolt, how is it possible for so much time to have passed since the moment some people took to the streets in the ecstasy brought about by the ideal of freedom, dying or surviving and continuing to hope – day by day, year by year –, to dare believe that Romania has finally received the chance to the great liberation from the all-mighty rule of the red demon. Only for us to wake up each year, on the same December morning in which the FSN took over power in Romania and turned the country and the Romanians into another chapter of the same hallucinating, infinite history of neocommunism.
Iliescu, Constantinescu, Basescu, Iohannis, their Governments, Parliaments, and political regimes have deceived and disappointed us, excited us and driven us mad, for 28 years.
However, we moved on and hoped that, maybe, just maybe, things will change this time around or at least next time. And that we will finally managed to find that long-awaited and long-promised democracy.
We hate Liviu Dragnea and we talk about him as about a man who is a political party, a governance programme, a Parliament, a country and a state, all in one.
A grave and dangerous obsessive-compulsive mutation has occurred in the mind of Romanians, one that says that Dragnea = PSD. Just like Basescu always meant, also in the mind of Romanians, just “an active president,” also known as the Romanian state.
We no longer have any clue about parties, doctrines, political deontology, ideological separations, the Right and the Left well-outlined and well-rooted in the reality of the local political soil that they electorally claim.
There is a confusion in the national mind and in the country. Media-political, political-doctrinaire, Facebook-activist and electoral, social-redeemer, political-redeemer, etc.
The parties are dead! Long live their leaders!
PNL leader Ludovic Orban is ready at any time and in any way to initiate the procedure of the useless and pathetic no-confidence motion and to take over power by forming a new and ultra-democratic Liberal Government. He and he alone. Because opposable liberalism is long gone. Or, in fact, was never born in the Romanian socio-political reality.
The other leaders of the Opposition, petty or illustrious, approve direct or indirect participation in laws, motions, street protests or who knows what other political agreement of the context and moment.
Parliament has become a circus arena in which actors, clowns, trapeze performers and exotic dancers perform exciting acts of great effect on the audience, walking the majority’s tightrope, juggling with the laws and the vote, high above a room full of spectators bored with the same “high-risk” acts, the taming of lions, monkeys and parrots, the magic and illusion endlessly repeated for 28 years.
However, paradoxically, spectators continue to purchase tickets at an exclusivist price and to come back to the circus.
And the all-mighty shadow of the great dictator reigns over all of this and over the country.
Who or what he is – man or party – no longer matters. We all feel defeated and powerless.
In Romania, theoretically and by the book, democracy has won, and the political parties – historical or anachronistic and outside of time – continue to exist and to lay claims on offices, power and votes.
And those that are not yet born are about to be reborn, and those who were before will be once again.
Hence, like the poet puts it… all is old, and all is new.