I keep asking people why they hate the man so much and have yet to receive a concrete answer. —“The Rise and Fall of Traian Băsescu”
I don’t hate him, I just dislike him—profoundly, that is… I think he stands for totally different things (ideas, values or principles) than I do. But don’t get me wrong, he’s an excellent and very successful politician! I can see that he effected some changes in Romania’s recent development, but I’ve always questioned his method and his aim. And the result of his never explaining the aim, as well as never disclosing the method, rendered his reforms fragile, unsustainable, questionable… This is the main reason for my disliking him: He’s always fed my hopes with his rhetoric, and always failed my senses with his actions 🙁
A good friend from Timişoara has this theory that strong social capital doesn’t really support reforms, but rather blocks any attempts at changing the ways things work. And I can totally see Sorin’s point: if society holds on to a certain way of doing things, how’d you expect it to yield different results? So I reconsidered my perception of Băsescu’s actions: most of them simply chipped away at the social capital inherited from the communist past and consolidated during the Iliescu & Constantinescu regimes; but meanwhile failed to put another form of social capital in place.
I have to be fair, though: One cannot effect such large-scale changes within a timespan of only 8-10 years! And the main reason for Băsescu’s failure is poor expectations management, as he never explained either the aim or the method. Had the people had a sense of where was this all going, they’d’ve supported both the course and the man; instead, they hate the man, even without being able to explain why. Given a reasonable explanation, people would’ve accepted the lack of integrity, collaboration or transparency; given a reasonable timeline or projection for the fruition of their aspirations, people would’ve waited patiently for the new types of sharing and growth and empowerment…
But I think Romanians got tired of waiting for the explanations in the absence of visible results; of course, the opposition saw the niche, and capitalized on public discontent. We may definitely question the ethics, the social responsibility of both camps, pro- and anti-Băsescu, but he’s the main player in this game, and his strategy was flawed 🙁 I’m willing to grant him the presumption of good intentions, but I criticize his manner of doing things that paved the way to the current chaos—anyone can see that Ponta & Antonescu now mimic Băsescu’s means, yet to another end.
Will the referendum of 29 July or the elections in the fall solve this political crisis? I doubt it—the opposition has no plan, no solutions and no healers for either the old or the new forms of social capital! Erosion will continue as long as the text of the Constitution is referred to only in solving disputes, rather than building prosperity. Hatred is rooted in lack of communication, and I’m quite surprised that in this age of networked intelligence we, Romanians, display such poor levels of networking and intelligence in politics 🙁 We’re still learning and, though we’re falling behind, that’s why I (also) decided to remain optimistic 🙂