Author: Árpád W. Tóta
Silently we ambled into Europe – but there is no shelter for Hungarians elsewhere, but in a strong union.
Never before have we had such a shameful EP election; the percentage of those interested did not even reach 30%. Europe can’t even pack half a house here. And by the way, with this result, we still came out as the eminent ones in our Eastern European class – in the catch-up class.
Steadily accelerating do we drift toward total apathy. Back in 1997, half of the voters went to the polls to poopular-vote about NATO. Then, just six years later, the referendum about the EU accession itself could already motivate only 45% to officially express their opinion. Silently, half-heartedly we ambled in. Then, on the EP elections, the laxening continued.
Thankless and unpleasant it is for one to criticize one’s own homeland, but it is still more appropriate than simply just looking away or to laud it even louder. So let’s not hide the inconvenient truth any longer, but rather look it straight in the eye: we are acting dumb and narrow-minded. Respect to those excepted – and not to Hungarians or anyone else in general.
As if there was no tomorrow. As if we had no issues at all to resolve, big questions to answer or outside factors to handle. As if that goddamn bloody blister they call Russia would not be flexing its muscles right here on our doorstep. Which, as we know all too well, is traditionally prone to overgobbling itself from time to time, ruining everything within its reach – and then bursting and shrinking back to size again. Currently, however, it most certainly isn’t on a diet.
As if we were not subjects to an unpredictable climate change of immense proportions and significance, the consequences of which will of course certainly not be alleviated by wimpy ten million-strong plains, but by actual superpowers. As if it would not be a commonplace that rapid technological development is our only hope (not in the least also making our current living standards possible) and that advancement of this is also not a local issue but a huge undertaking requiring contribution from each and every single one of our allies.
But no, we just plug our ears and rather go gardening. And if anyone would still be interested in the European elections then that will only be the case because he is rooting for one home team or another for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do at all with issues outside his country’s borders.
For us, the stage of the 21st century is Europe. We should long not be debating about whom we love more here at home but rather about what should happen on the continent and about how we could become stronger together. But we are just too dumb and apathetic to realize that.
And with “we” in this case I mean we, Europeans.
Just what the heck are those French doing anyway? And Sweden actually sends Nazis into the Union, really? And Germany too? Do we vote ourselves back to nation states, one by one? Well, that will be great fun indeed, at least as great as the 20th century was. Or is it maybe that there is now an entire generation around that only knows world wars from video games and finds them super cool? But hey, guys, in a world war, there’s no Internet! And don’t tell me that playing cards in the trenches is much more fun, because you would already be doing just that if it was.
In my dreams, America…
Let me tell you a few things about the proverbially obese, consumidiot dumbass Americans.
First of all, they are not even nearly as narrow-sighted as the Europeans. The national isolationism so popular in Europe is present over there as well, of course – but it is not even nearly as rewarding. Sarah Palin for example went out of her way to stand for everything the star-spangled-banner-wrapped, beer-swigging patriot proles want her to stand for – but as soon as it turned out that she believes that Africa is a country, they just laughed at her and turned the page. In Europe however, it even appears to be cool to proclaim that an outside world as such doesn’t even exist.
It is – partially – also due to this that the US is able to enforce its interests on such a high level with diplomatic as well as military tools. One such interest is for example that no-one should ever dare to attack its territory or to kill its citizens. And then there are of course also the ugly materialistic goals like resources, technology and cheap fuel. Judging from the Americans’ living standard, they are quite able indeed to obtain these too. And if they need a drone to do so then they create a drone.
This they achieve by 1.) believing that there is a world out there and that they have things to do with it and by 2.) admitting that California alone, by itself would not be able to deploy a carrier. So, as much as they look down on Texans and everyone else, they are still willing to join forces. This is why they are called the United States – and why the European Union is not. However, it is much simpler for Americans to jump the hurdle of localpatriotism. For their federal government is ever-present in their lives and from time to time it even shows that they can indeed count on it.
For what happens in America, if the hurricane, the red mud or Godzilla strikes? The president expresses his concerns, promises aid and indeed, copters and other tools of the federal government soon appear over the units of the local national guard. The entire empire donates, helps and contributes, the neighboring states recruit volunteers, relief organizations put up their tents and the entire country will immediately be informed from the news that disaster has struck New Orleans.
In Europe however, this is not a custom. So Europe should not wonder either that its citizens do not feel like being cared for. Was Manuel Barroso there at Kolontár? No. Viktor Orbán was. Was anyone from the Union there on the levees of the Danube? Gábor Vona was. Ferenc Gyurcsány too. Did anyone from the Union help alleviate the damages? Well, yes, but the Hungarian citizens considered that as governmental aid – more precisely, Hungarian governmental aid. Brussels only signed the check.
Whereas in fact merely some paperwork would be needed to improve this situation. We could easily create an aid brigade that searches and rescues, puts out fires and builds levees under the Union’s aegis. They could for example go to the levees of such dilapidated provinces where the deeply respected nation state in its radiant wisdom can’t even operate ten helicopters because it needs the money for stadiums and tell the people that we are now here to help you instead of your government. That the blankets we are now handing out to you were made by European housewives – for we belong together.
And thus we could create true European heroes. The bearded woman isn’t a bad start either but we would also need some other figures too who deal justice and aid and rescue those in need; so some sort of transvestite Batman in the European sense or something like that. Observing the role of cultural politics in civilizations more successful than us, learning from them and opening a chapter for the conclusions in the cohesion funds is not a disgrace at all. This could quite likely be more useful than just padding out the pockets of Lőrinc Mészáros (mayor of Felcsút, home of Viktor Orbán).
The new leaders of Europe need to forge an actual community out of this continent, lest it will lose its eastern provinces to those who do not bother to organize free elections. Creating a more active centre will of course also meet with conflicts and countermeasures; many are eager to avoid any turbulence so they can simply carry on with their ingrained routine and enjoy their salary. Being a eurocrat is quite a convenient job indeed, with wonderful salary and low responsibility. It won’t be easy to squeeze more out of them but there is no other way: if Europe carries on like this then this job – eurocrat – will soon be cancelled. Then the flood won’t come after you but crash down on you with all its weight.
Europe of Nations
The program of a federal Europe is under siege in all member states, with accusations ranging from ‘unpatriotic’ to ‘high treason’. Supporters of the proposed United States of Europe usually don’t quite get the opposition’s concerns; we could indeed get along just fine without nations, so why is this a problem at all? Unfortunately however the facts show that most citizens of the continent are still unable to look beyond this scale today. And that if someone is not French, British or Hungarian enough then that is considered as grave a flaw as if she would believe that Africa is a country. In fact, much more grave than that, even.
Whereas in fact no-one would need to deny and lose his Frenchness or Hungarianness in a united Europe. Quite on the contrary. It is exactly for this heritage, carried with and festooned on us by our birth, language and textbooks, that we seek a shelter for by striving to forge one strong Europe for every one of us. For here we can stay Hungarians, French, methodists or transvestites, catholics or marxists, can rap and folkdance at our pleasure – and wherever we would venture to outside Europe, there we could certainly not be so happy. Especially not alone. Europe does not endanger or Hungarianness, for our Hungarianness is szaloncukor, hurka, Dezső Kosztolányi and halászlé – and not the media law and Lajos Simicska. Those we can lose at any time if Europe asks us to.
The same goes for those vice-nobodies as well who would – and this they themselves know damn well too – be entirely unable to compete in a united Europe. This is why they bang their drums as French, Swedish and Hungarian nationalists, because they know fully well that they can only be someone on their little home junkyard. After all, what would a Tamás Deutsch or a Tibor Szanyi amount to in the governmental apparatus of a 500 million-strong, healthy empire? A close-knit pair of night guards, maybe. They are nothing more than shameful ballasts on our common spaceship. We can only hope that Europe will simply step over them and that this was the last time that such rejects could even be nominated at all.
It is of such matters that we would have needed to vote about on this recently past occasion already. It will be Brussels’ task to achieve that in five years’ time we will indeed be able to truly and consciously vote about these and actually want to say yes. So our children too can understand that Euro-Batman fights for us – and that by the way, we are Euro-Batman.
For we will not realize this by ourselves.