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Why Romania Is Better Than America - Part 2

Sometimes I think I'm afflicted by something more severe than Bipolar Nationality Disorder. I criticize so many things about the Romania and suggest so many North American solutions that it must seem extremely odd when I write posts like this one. But let me say something, every time I write a scathing review of the state of affairs in this country it hurts me more than it hurts the country. I guess I'm like Romania's parent. "It'll hurt me more than it'll hurt you," I say as I lift the proverbial pen. And it's true it does. The country's not about to implode from our politicians' incompetence, and the common negative attitudes will change with time anyway, because there are smart and well meaning people here who will eventually help turn the tide. The country will be fine, but analyzing the present state of things does hurt.

The United States of America offers another story though. After a drawn out reality-TV type campaign, the tribal council convened to vote the last guy off the island. The old winner gets a second go at it. Whoop-dee-doo. After the results were confirmed, I had the displeasure of watching the same image on every single news station; that of mindlessly cheering Obama supporters waving little American flags like it was the second coming of Christ. To be honest, it was a lot more Messianic (and eerie) the first time around, in 2008, but what's clear is that Americans sure know how to get riled up over a whole lot of nothing.

"Democracy in a nation of 300 million is messy, and noisy, and complicated." Obama said in his victory speech. That gets the ironic statement of the night award. This past summer, a nation of 20 million  demonstrated how messy and complicated it really can get. But when I compare that to the sham that's been the American electoral campaign I'm actually grateful. In Romania, we all know that what happened this summer was the work of dirty, self-interested politicians. Whether we supported one side or the other, we still hated them for doing what they were doing. We have no illusions about them 'saving the country' or 'turning the economy around' and of 'rolling up their sleeves to get everybody back to work'. We're smart enough to call bullshit on all their empty promises. Not so in America.

A great American president once said, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, can't get fooled again." Time and again America gets fooled again, but what's shocking is the willingness with which it gets fooled. I'm not talking about Obama/Romney here. It's not even about Republicans or Democrats. It's that tens, maybe hundreds, of millions of Americans truly believe that politicians from the same two political parties best represent their interests. They believe when they're told that they do it for 'the little guy', or 'the single mother', and for all the 'the hard working men and women of America'. They believe when their leaders tell them that they all have a common enemy, and that American soldiers are killing random civilians tens of thousands of miles away 'so that we may enjoy our freedoms'. They believe everything and take it all at face value. For lack of better words, they buy all the bullshit that's being served up, they buy it as if the bulls are on the verge of extinction. 

Romanians, for better or worse, have a deep distrust of the scheming political elite. It may be counter-productive at times, but we're not brainwashed sheep. When Romanian politicians say "Jump" we say "Yeah, yeah, whatever" and go back to thinking, saying, and doing whatever we were doing before. Nobody believes in the 'global threat' of terrorism, people realize that corporate and personal interest always trump real national interests, and we're not gullible enough to look at the people in power - or those with any sort of authority - as heroes and models of virtue. Basically, we know better, and I'm grateful for that.

I'm grateful that in Romania we still have the freedom to believe whatever we want, but mostly because we can still say whatever we want without the demon of political correctness forever lurking over our shoulders. I'm even grateful that the politicians themselves get away with some extremely politically incorrect comments, what the hell, let the man speak his mind. If anything, speaking one's mind is the last noticeable shred of integrity a politician can hold on to, one that's long been lost by any American candidate. Yeah, America is very business friendly, and there are some long-ingrained values that result in a more orderly society than ours, but at a social level, it is rotten to the core.

The irony is that America considers itself the world's biggest democracy, when in fact, it's one of the smallest. America is literally one party removed from being as democratic as China. If you take into account that the Republicans and Democrats are just two sides to the same old boy's club coin, then technically, they are exactly as 'democratic' as China. Oh yeah, there are some more parties, but don't expect the world's freest media to give any of them even a minute of coverage - obviously because they're free to cover the exact same stories everyone else is covering.

I don't want to go too far in comparing Romanian and American politics. They're both dirty and only people who like mud on their face should get involved. At the essence of it are the ordinary people though. Those who, in one country, ignore the fact that the political trenches are drenched in mud, blood, and filth, and those in a smaller, 'poorer', country who know that filth is exactly what we're being served. I once wrote about why I came back and described the artificial life in the West. Things there move at a frenetic pace. That pace is fabricated. It's meant to get the ordinary people (the voters) overly involved with minutiae. It's meant to keep anybody from having the time to stop and to think; about the world around them, about those who lead them, about pretty much anything that matters. About Life.

In Romania, we still think - we think our own thoughts. That means we're still free. And we don't buy bullshit.


  1. "How far does his dick have to be up your ass before you realize Reagan is fucking you?"

    -Bill Hicks, 1989


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