Letter to the Editor: Slovak people should take a close look at their society

Dear Sir,

The hectic pre-election weeks are over, and the results known. We who are happy that the opposition got a majority are looking forward eagerly to the upcoming changes as Slovakia heads towards democratic Europe. It's a pity about those lost four years [under the former Mečiar government], and in connection with this, I would like to argue a little bit with Jil Junas [letters to the editor, Vol. 4 No. 23, Oct. 19-25] where she argues that "Mečiar is very much like America's Clinton - both are liars."

They aren't the same, because Clinton in spite of committing perjury in his personal affairs is leading America towards economic prosperity, civic welfare and a world of freedom and mutual understanding. Nobody can say the same about Mečiar.

But the real point I would like to share with readers is that we should all stop arguing and quarelling, stop blaming the coalition and the opposition. It's time for change! A big change, not only in our country's orientation but also in our everyday way of life. If we look at ourselves first, we see that our approach to our work and our social lives is not always correct and responsible. Bribery exists on all levels, even when you ask for common everyday service from those authorities who should serve us. Entrepreneurs are apparently not interested in keeping customers, because they often provide very poor services and leave customers with nowhere to complain. Cheating seems to be a national hobby, and all around us are selfish people with no mutual trust or willingness to help strangers.

I lived with my family for almost two years in Michigan, America. It was quite enough time to observe the business, social and everyday life of common people. I am not un uncritical worshipper of all things American, but I did enjoy observing people's behaviour in public life. Everybody on the other side of the counter - state admistritations, private shop-assistants, doctors, etc. - let you feel that you are the CUSTOMER, an honoured and welcomed part of their business. In America, it is almost unheard of that customers would have to bring business people or doctors coffee, chocolates or even "envelopes" just to get served. There, if you are not satisfied with the service you get, you can complain and just watch the dust fly.

I can already hear people saying "Yes, but Americans have been building their society and democracy for hundreds of years."

OK, but we have to start someday, too. Why not today, by changing ourselves?

Ľubica Sokolíková, Žilina

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