Monday, October 20, 2008

Socialism makes its return to the Czech Republic

At least in regions. The Czech Republic is divided into 13 regions, and Prague has its own status as the capital city. Each region has its own council with its regional governor. Elections to these councils took place on Friday and Saturday with a very scary outcome for me. For those who don't know the political scene in the Czech Republic, allow me first to give you a picture about it. There are basically five major political parties that have seats in the Czech Parliament. Listed from right side to left side, these are the Civic Democratic Party, Christian Democratic Party, Green Party, Czech Social Democratic Party and Communist Party. The first three parties created a coalition after the 2006 general election. Back to the current election. Even though it was a regional election as I mentioned before, Social Democrats described the election as a referendum about the government and its reforms. The outcome is that that the Czech Social Democrats won a landslide. They won in all 13 regions. It is a disaster. I'm ashamed of my countrymen. I cannot believe that people really listened to their populist words, and that they fell for them. The party leader, Jiri Paroubek, has declared in the past that he would go govern with Communists and even "with Martians" in order to defeat the center-right government. What happened now is that he doesn't even need Martians to fulfill his proclamation. Social Democrats could have an easy majority with the Communists in all 13 regions to create coalitions. That is something that makes me uneasy. Can't people see the danger resulting from this? Are they that lazy and shortsighted that in order to have a huge and expensive social net and to have the state as a mother who is taking care of her children, they vote for leftists who will rule even with the Devil? Health care reform is under way here, and one part of it is that people have to pay 30 Czech crowns, approx. $1.62, when they visit a doctor. This became a big issue for the Social Democrats against the government. For a more complex picture, 30 crowns is one half litter of beer in a pub, or 1/4 of a pack of cigarettes. So no big deal and still Czechs don't want to participate in the system that is very expensive and they don't want to give up socialist safeguards they were used to. They want to have capitalism, but with all advantages of socialism. That is impossible. There should be balance in that. Yes, a social net is a need for those who really need it, but not for people making a lot of money to abuse it. I don't want CZK 50,000 birth grants to be paid from our taxes. I don't want my government to sponsor young families by giving them huge benefits, just because they happened to have a child. I'm talking about regular folks and not about low-income families. I could go on and on. There is going to be a vote of confidence about the government in Parliament this Wednesday, and I'm worried what could happen.
On the other hand, don't get me wrong, I'm still a big supporter of the Democratic Party in the U.S.A. and Mr. Obama still has my support, although I would rather see Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate for Democrats, but that doesn't mean I would ever cast my vote for a Republican. I'm still sure that Mr. McCain doesn't know what he talks about when he calls Mr. Obama a socialist. McCain should come to Europe - and that's something I don't remember he has done in a long time - and check his views with the real European and Czech socialists. He then will find out how wrong his statement was.
Of course, Jesse and I totally disagree about Czech politics, but we have a common opinion about American politics. At least.