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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Czech Apathy

“We can’t do anything, so why try.”

It isn’t even posed as a question. This is the mantra I hear from my students, Czechs, about their political system. Their politicians are bathing in the champagne of tax dollars: skimming, kickbacks, bribes, graft, payola. Call it what you want, but the Czech people are getting the hollow shaft from their legislators, and they think they have no ability to do anything about it.

Of course, looking at the system, it doesn’t seem as if they do have any recourse: business is in cahoots with gov’t; the courts are in cahoots with the legislators; the media reports but doesn’t dig; the people throw up their arms and say little; the legal system is stacked in favor of a Machine Politics mentality. And billions of crowns are yearly siphoned from the till, bound for the pockets of said politicians.

Fingers are pointed between political parties, but since everyone is feeding from the same placenta, no one will ever speak. This system reminds me of Tammany Hall circa 1920, Chicago circa 1955, Washington circa 1870, 1930, 1972, 1985, 1992, and 2001-2008.


But … the major corruption of American politics was corralled by outside political groups that, after decades of pressure, finally forced the insiders to act. And then, with law and repercussive actions on their side, states attorneys across the nation used strong subpoena powers to get at the political racketeers.

This is where the Czech system stands: in need of several strong, independent people who have the people in mind when fairness and equality are used in the philosophy of a gov’t made of laws. This will be some time before such a strong people-oriented system gets its foundation and then thrives. I think perhaps another 10-15 years. But if the Czechs hold on, and work at their democracy, then the system shall change.

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