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Hungary Today! – A Divided Country, But Also A Nation That Yearns To Be Healed…

There is an old anglo-saxon saying reminding us that there is no such thing as a “free lunch”. When you “win” a revolution without firing a gun, you likely end up in a situation whereas the old elite will sneak through the back door, commingle with the new democratic elite and begin destabilizing the new democracy that you are about to build. 

Hungarians at this year’s 1956 state celebration event at the House of Terror Museum in Budapest on 23rd of October (photo: Tamás Kovács – MTI)

Having said that, there is an old axiom by Lincoln noting that: You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.[1] The old MSZMP tried fooling the people by instilling an offspring party called MSZP in its place with tons of old kadarist cadres in their ranks. After years of trying to reinvent themselves, now they are on the verge of withering away as a party altogether. So much for their post-regime-change revival. On the other hand, what is happening with other opposition forces – new or old? I am reluctant to get into the political and ideological battles that these “new” emerging political formations offer, but one thing comes across as a common element in their programs: they all side by Brussels and the large international power centers when it comes to any debate between Hungarians and their neo-colonizers. They do not seem to understand that internationalism is dead on arrival with the newly emerging independence movements and national sovereignty drives across the globe. Nobody wants to live in a uniform world and have their lives controlled from 3 or 4 international power centers. People throughout this globe want their identity back and make their decisions locally, while thinking globally.

The recent anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian revolution on October 23 was a fast reminder that the Hungarian people do not favor and/or respect any political formations in their country that do not unequivocally focus on the national interest first (however it is defined). And right now the national interest as articulated by the voters (an overarching consensus) is that Hungarians do not want an Islamic migration wave to infiltrate and take over the country’s 1,000+ year old history, culture and traditions.

Enough said. However, as a Hungarian-American, I am one who likes to settle conflicts and not generate them – for the sake of building consensus. Various U.S. presidents attempted to define what a “great society” built on consensus means for them.

Dwight Eisenhower (republican) said “every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”[2]

President John F. Kennedy (democrat) reminded us “not to ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

The “Great Society” under President Lyndon B. Johnson (democrat) entailed a set of programs and policies to combat poverty and promote social reforms.

Jimmy Carter (democrat) said that human rights should be the essence of a nation’s domestic and foreign policies.

Ronald Reagan (republican) said that government was not the solution, but the problem and he wanted to return power back to the people.

Bill Clinton (democrat) said that “when times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better.”

George H. Bush (republican) said that “America is a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”

George W. Bush (republican) reminded us that “I am one who unites and not divides.”

And Donald Trump (republican) said that “my administration is transferring power out of Washington and returning that power back where it belongs to the people.”

In other words, it seems that despite political differences, social sensitivity and a propensity towards unity was a shared value among the ranks of most, if not all U.S. presidents.

Still, we arrived at a point last year, whereas a record-high 77% of Americans perceive their nation to be divided,[3] which division has been emerging for a long time, possibly because of uncontrolled and changing migration trends and other factors. It seems that certain forces in society are forcing a change, trying to transform the inner fabric of American society by instilling a new “value system” in its place.

In Hungary, and indeed in most nations around this globe, we have a similar situation. People are locked into a battle between nationalism and internationalism, rich and poor, belligerent and peaceful people, but most of all national sovereignty over integration.

Whatever the outcome of this age-old battle will be, one thing is for certain: we need to care more for each other! Instead of ignoring people, we should listen to them more! Instead of taking their money away in the form of taxes and offering them low wages, we should tax them less and offer them more pay. Instead of subsidizing wealthy corporations and giving them unrestricted access to global markets, while giving them tax breaks, we should nurture the poor and the downtrodden and spread opportunity and empower the citizens. Instead of reserving the most coveted positions and jobs for our privileged inner circle, relatives and subservient clientele, we should open up the job market in a free and competitive manner for all. These are some of the overriding principles to build a greater society.

While one cannot question the legitimacy of the current government of Hungary and its successes, we as citizens should now perhaps pay more attention to our shared values and spread fair competition and well-being among all the citizens to build a win-win society.

Adam Topolansky

 

[1] https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/abrahamlin110340.html

[2] I will not cite sources on each of these quotes as they are mostly common knowledge by now and they are easy to find in publicly available sources on the internet and libraries if someone wishes to look them up.

[3] Gallup News, November 21, 2016