2022 Grateful 40: The turning of the tide

There was a palpable gloom in the streets of Budapest yesterday. What smiles I saw were Sad. Tentative. Uncertain. The sighs I heard were ones of resignation. Yet again, the voting public had returned the Little Man to power. I’m gutted.

I walked around in a daze, going from appointment to appointment, each one starting with a hug and words of condolence. Some were angry.

This feudal, dependent system is far too strong. Too strong for us to destroy it. It has to rot from inside, like the Roman Empire did. As soon as the money taps are turned off, we can expect changes. But until then we should go to the meadows, smell spring flowers, watch bees and build up an alternative world in our heads.

More were resigned.

The truth is, I am feeling liberated, like all those people who have a terminal illness and they finally accept their fate that they are going to die. This is Hungarian politics now…and forever…

Others were too sad to put words to what they were feeling.

Yes, I had wanted Hungary to reelect their Little Man because I wanted him to be in power when the reality of the consequences of the war in Ukraine makes itself felt. I wanted him in power when the price cap on petrol and diesel has to be lifted because the subsidy is no longer sustainable. I wanted him in power when the cap on food staples has to be lifted and chicken becomes a delicacy and the price of vegetable oil rockets. I wanted him in power when people finally realised that they’d been sold a lemon.

But I never expected he would get ANOTHER two-thirds majority or that the odious extreme right would get 6% of the vote, 1% more than needed to take their place in government.

Yes, I didn’t want the opposition to win. I never thought them selfless enough to be truly aligned with each other. I never believed that they believed they stood a chance. I never wished for them to have to deal with the fall-out of 12 years of corruption, theft, and deceit.  I didn’t want them to have to go through the four miserable years that are ahead of us only for the Little Man to return in 2026 as Hungary’s knight in shining armour.

But I never expected he would get ANOTHER two-thirds majority…

The latent anxiety I’ve been feeling for the last month is threatening to mushroom into fear.

Before the election, 28% of young people said they’d leave the country if the Little Man won. Already, I’m seeing posts of people making plans to emigrate. If all the smart ones go, who will be left? If the young people leave, whose taxes will support the elderly, whose pensions are miserable enough as it is.

If the EU mandates an embargo on Russian oil and gas, will he sacrifice Hungary’s future and tie it to Russia? And then, will the EU have the backbone to kick him out? I don’t know what to think anymore.

Last night, I went to a wake. The chief mourner is a dear friend who has worked their ass off in the last few years for one of the aligned opposition parties. They were in a philosophical mood.

Until we combine our money and our wisdom and bring alternative employment and free education to rural Hungary instead of campaigning, there will be no change. We need cooperative, non-profit businessess that put employees and customers first. Sustainable businesses. That is the future. The rest is empty propaganda. On both sides.

That’s a political platform I could get behind. I could feel despondency turning to resolve with an infinitesimal sliver of hope, for which I’m grateful. It might have been the Whisky Sours. But perhaps this day marks the turning of the tide and the beginning of the great unveiling.



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