I am in love with Budapest. Although I wasn’t born here, I consider it my home. The simple sight of the Hungarian flag evokes strong patriotic feelings. I am fond of the intricacies of my mother tongue, and I can appreciate a good pálinka, although it’s not my favourite beverage.
As a citizen, I expect my state to protect me from foreign or domestic harm and terror, to provide me access to skills and knowledge through education, to maintain an infrastructure of roads and transport, to supply safe drinking water to everyone, to keep a critical reserve of natural resources like gas, fuel etc. I expect it to provide electricity, internet and heating at a price if no commercial companies are available to do the same.
I further expect it to care at least at a minimum level for my physical and mental wellbeing through free health service, and through parks and recreational sites. I allow my state’s representatives directly or indirectly chosen to pass laws on the limits of our “cohabitation” in the scope of physical and intellectual property, physical and mental safety, contracts, and organisational affairs.
I expect it to operate a police force that I can trust, is fair and balanced in its routines, to enforce the aforementioned laws. I want my state to allow an independent court of law to decide in fair judgment on disputes solely based on the laws while applying common sense.
Also, I require the state to function transparently, save for national security intelligence and trade secrets.
I would not like my state to tell me whom I can love and call ‘family’.
In compensation for all these services, I am willing to pay a certain portion of my salaries, wages and other incomes in the form of dues, fees, duties and taxes. I even believe that it is fair for a state to ask for a percentage of my spendings in form of a sales tax.
This, however, seems like a contract to me.
Unfortunately, if this really was a contract, I would be able to negotiate what compensation will the state give in their failure to provide as agreed. (Similarly, as they take measures against me if I default.)
You see, the problem I have living in Hungary nowadays is not just the current politics. It really is the constant and unceasing fretting, the long-nurtured, now fossilised frustrations of the state of affairs, the maddening hopelessness we all see and understand without really facing it and coming to terms with it.
And you know, it is us, the people, who are to blame. Because most of us do not open our mouths, our parents taught us to keep silent and endure. We are not assertive to stand for ourselves. Maybe it is a result of us not wanting to face our own and our parents’ generation’s responsibility in all this.
I fully understand that there is no country on this earth that has it all figured out, but there are some countries where all the conflicts and frustrations are approached with kindness and acceptance, maybe a new deal is set up, but at least a two-way communication is allowed, embraced and even urged.
My country will stay in this dark age of repression, denial, pointing and shaming, and deafening silence. And my voice alone is just not enough. But here’s hoping…