January 25, 2004

Romanian Moms on the March

Sometimes Burke's little platoons can rise up from the most unexpected places. About Kids is a romanian language forum that deals with standard problems that any parent all over the world can understand and sympathize with. But there are some specific problems that pop up that are unique to Romania.

How much is the proper bribe to get the cleaning staff to actually change your hospital bed sheets is just one example of a whole host of 'gratuity' questions in this poor country with a largely socialized medical system. You would laugh at it, if it didn't break your heart to read about people who don't have money for heat type away at their work accounts and describe the bribe schedule they needed to meet for proper delivery care in the "universal health care" system.

A romanian after her first trip abroad, looks at home with newly opened eyes, remarking that she never realized how stressed everybody was, how grey her surroundings were, how sad everybody looked, until she saw a society (she went to the UK) in the west. Imagine going to the gray skies, wet London and seeing a quantum increase in smiling cheerfulness and a colorful surrounding.

And as the complaints pile up of diverted funds, a lack of political accountability for government misdeeds, and the generally horrible conditions that young parents have to face, they're starting to talk about organizing because they know that when there is money for four programs but five compete for that money, it's their program that's going to go underfunded or completely unfunded.

Why there is no money is, of course, that three of those programs shouldn't exist in their current form and the tax money that could theoretically pay for all of it is siphoned off, to a great extent, in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for overlooking accounting irregularities.

but there is little accountability because politicians are elected on party lists. It is impossible to vote for some members of a party but not others. It's all or none and all of the political turkeys are high up on the lists.

Everybody knows the solution, a constitutional amendment to mandate individual member districts. Everybody also knows that such legislation is not a priority for the currently elected political class. They like the current system just fine.

Posted by TMLutas at January 25, 2004 08:47 PM