Sunday, November 1, 2020, is with lots of rain. A cold drizzle. All the proper roads are going to be muddy. Where it does not rain, it will be foggy. Where it rains, and there is fog, there will be coronavirus—many Covid-19 infection cases. There will be countless other problems. Everyone has issues, and on Sunday, no one will solve them. Moreover, on Sunday, November 1, Moldova has presidential elections.
The citizen must reflect: why do I have to go out, in the rainy, cold, foggy weather, in the mud, to expose myself to the risk of catching a cold or be infected? Any benefit from this vote? What will the president give me? He has not given me anything for 30 years. How will he provide me with anything now, when the drought and the pandemic worsened chronic poverty?
I cannot disagree with this reasoning. I am confident that the president will not give me anything. None of the eight candidates will give me anything, even if they all become presidents at once. Not even foreign Presidents Iohannis, Zelenski, or Macron, if they came, run, and win the presidential elections in Moldova.
Throughout 30 years of journalism, I have been monitoring everything in Moldova, including the elections. I have not seen the presidents give anything to anyone except some bags of beans or buckwheat to the poor during the election campaigns. After 30 years of fighting for democracy, no president has given me anything, absolutely nothing. You ask me why I vote for them? I would better answer the question: Why will I go out in the rain, colds, viruses on Sunday to vote again?
When I voted for the first president of Moldova, there was only one state television. We struggled to inform people as neutral as possible. When I voted for the second one, there were already private newsrooms. However, no internet yet. When Moldova elected the third president, we had an internet connection. Still, the authorities blocked our ZdG websites. By the fourth, we already had Facebook pages, and ZdG has gotten trolls strangling us. Now, we were called “foreign agents.” Yes, after fighting injustice through journalism for 30 years, a president with his people come and call you the enemy of statehood, liable to punishment. No, tyrannical presidents do not provide newsrooms, the Internet, or newspapers. However, they can seize everything if elected.
What was the point of this 30-year struggle, if to this day, we do not have the security of inviolability and independence of the media? If presidents control most TV channels and newspapers? If we do not have independent justice, a free market, a developed economy, fundamental freedoms?
Yes, if I didn’t go to the polls and protests every time, many of my colleagues and I think we could end up in prison, as many journalists and activists in Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, or Turkey.
Many of us, the journalists, realized long ago that it is radical if a president or a politician gives you something. We do not fight, nor do we vote for them to obtain something. We fight and vote so that the president (or any voted politician) does not take what we have. We vote not to be deprived of our right to access information, the right to free expression, the right to sovereignty, the right to free movement, the right to identity, education, work, justice, and for the future.
Many of the presidents wanted to take this fundamental right away from us. Therefore, I will go to the polls on Sunday again. To give something to the future president. On my behalf. One vote. And then, on Monday, I’ll ask him or her for more. Many more questions to generate a sensation. The intense feeling that no matter how much of a president he or she is, no matter how foggy it is, no matter how many viruses there are- there are people you can’t steal from anything.
Let’s not forget that we get democracy by-election and vote. Let’s not forget the face mask, the pen, the social distance, and the trust.