Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

READERS' FEEDBACK

Choose poorly, and we will not love your memory

ON SUNDAY morning, April 5, 2009, I got out of bed and walked into the living room to find my wife crying. Ivan Gašparovič, that prototypical mediocrity, had become the first president in the history of the second Slovak Republic to be elected to a second term. The contrast with my euphoria as an American at the election of Barack Obama only five months earlier was stark.

ON SUNDAY morning, April 5, 2009, I got out of bed and walked into the living room to find my wife crying. Ivan Gašparovič, that prototypical mediocrity, had become the first president in the history of the second Slovak Republic to be elected to a second term. The contrast with my euphoria as an American at the election of Barack Obama only five months earlier was stark.

Cowardice is a funny thing. It can reverse revolutions, all the more easily when they are velvet (and perhaps embarked upon without the requisite amount of forethought on the part of the general public). I recall reading a statement from a member of the Communist party about a year ago to the effect that the revolution of 1989 occurred simply because the Czechoslovak people wanted a greater variety of goods in the shops. At the time I read that statement, I exploded in anger. My wife, wisely, held her tongue. I see now why.

It is indeed humbling that in two decades a people can go from a glorious dissident like Václav Havel to the bumbling arrogance of a former communist. But even putting the Bolsheviks back in power will not change the fact that the world is moving on, whether we want it to or not.

A liter of milk will never cost three crowns again. Your future will never be assured, whether you're in the first or second pillar, or you create seven others. To live in this world is to live with uncertainty, no matter what promises a politician makes.

Any leader who fights to turn back the revolutionary clock—for example, on the issue of unlimited freedom of the press, a democratic necessity—will only make the world's inevitable changes more difficult for the terrified people who entrust them with their lives. To “think nationally and feel socially” means nothing, Mr. President. What matters is what you do. Myself, my wife, and our future children may very well have to live with the choices you make today. Choose poorly, and we will not love your memory.

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Top stories

Heavy rains flood the Tatras Video

People had to be evacuated and several hiking routes had to be closed.

Stará Lesná

Trump plays with the world like a spoiled child

The White House is now broadcasting its most spectacular soap opera, beating and overcoming those of sundry leaders from different continents and different times.

Donald Trump

Last Week in Slovakia: People marched for LGBTI rights in Bratislava Audio

Listen to all the headlines from The Slovak Spectator's news podcast.

Rainbow Pride in Bratislava

Government has no plans to officially commemorate the victims of the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia

Presidents of the Slovak and Czech Republics will take a train ride to mark the founding of the Czechoslovak State.

Law Faculty of Comenius University in Šafárikovo Square, where the civilian killings by foreign armies on August 21, 1968, were most concentrated.