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20 Years Later – II

Continued from the previous post

18. Please state how much confidence you have in the following public institutions:
Note: This is all the available data, specifically stating that the value listed is the sum of those who picked “very much” and “pretty much”. For my own answers, I’ll assume that the other options were “not much” and “very little”.
a) Fire department: 89%
My answer: Pretty much, no reason to say otherwise.
b) Church: 80%
My answer: Not much. I’d say very little in it as an institution, but I’m quite aware that there are some priests who really do a lot for their communities.
c) Military: 73%
My answer: Pretty much, once again no reason to say otherwise.
d) Gendarmerie: 63%
My answer: Not much, not after seeing some of the things that happen during protests or marches that they’re supposed to watch.
e) Mass media (television, radio, newspapers): 61%
My answer: Not much, considering how a few people control most of it.
f) Polling institutes: 57%
My answer: Pretty much. Even though poll results almost always favor the one who ordered the poll, I’m good enough at reading between the lines and figuring out real facts from their data to say they’re quite useful even as things currently stand.
g) Your local mayor’s office: 55%
My answer: Pretty much if you mean Negoita’s, which really is local. Very little if you mean Oprescu’s.
h) Police: 55%
My answer: Not much. I could even say very little, but let’s leave it like that for now.
i) Romanian Intelligence Service: 40%
My answer: Quite frankly, pretty much. Of course they act on Basescu’s orders, but shouldn’t they?
j) People’s Attorney: 34%
My answer: Very little, as I can’t recall ever seeing that institution be of any real use.
k) Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs): 33%
My answer: Pretty much. At least some of them really try, though others are just a front for other operations. You just have to figure out which is which.
l) Unions: 32%
My answer: Very little.
m) Courts of law: 29%
My answer: Not much, unfortunately.
n) Banks: 25%
My answer: Not much. Was tempted to even say very little, but there are a few I’d at least trust with deposits.
o) Presidency: 17%
My answer: Still pretty much, though pretty much everyone wants to have my head when I mention it.
p) Parliament: 14%
My answer: Very little. In fact, none at all.
q) Government: 13%
My answer: Very little. I can trust that many of them will try to do just enough not to get kicked out of office right away, but certainly no more than that.
r) Political parties: 12%
My answer: Very little. Let’s see if Remus’ new party will be any different (Note (May, 2012): They aren’t.), because otherwise… Well, I have a little ranking system, from +5 to -5, and so far it’s more or less like this: PNG and PRM are at -4, PSD at -3, PDL, PNL and UDMR at -2 and the Greens at -1, where they actually were even before Remus left and told how the other leaders saw things, as I still think they’d be a bit better than the rest so I didn’t take them down further. I’m not sure where I should place the new UNPR, but it’s either -2 or -3. Either way, as you can see, all of them are in the negative numbers range…

19. Overall, do you think that Romania is currently heading in a right or wrong direction?
– In a right direction: 12%
– In a wrong direction: 80%
My answer: In a wrong direction, obviously. But have to point out that this is not just the fault of the current PDL-UDMR government, because the plans put forward by PSD and PNL are at least as bad, and usually worse. It’s also certainly not just because of politics, as the vast majority of Romanian people are heading in a very wrong direction. But that usually goes for most people anywhere.

20. Are you a member of an association or organization that does not bring you any income, such as, for example, a professional association, party, union, religious group, sports club, NGO, etc.?
– Yes: 8%
– No: 91%
My answer: No…

21. What kind of association or organization are you a member of?
Note: Percentages are out of the 8% who said they were members.
– Professional association: 26%
– Union: 26%
– Political party: 25%
– Recreational / sports: 9%
– Civic / ideologic: 6%
– Religious: 4%
– Pensioner’s / welfare: 3%
My answer: Not applicable.

22. How important do you believe the mass media is for a democracy?
– Very important: 58%
– Pretty important: 28%
– Not really important: 8%
– Not important at all: 3%
My answer: Very important, obviously. But it all depends on who controls it.

23. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
a) In Romania, the mass media is independent.
– Agree: 62%
– Disagree: 31%
My answer: Disagree, in most cases.
b) In Romania, the mass media serves the people’s interests.
– Agree: 69%
– Disagree: 27%
My answer: Disagree, obviously.

24. Overall, what is your primary source of information?
– Television: 71%
– Internet: 13%
– Written press (newspapers, magazines): 9%
– Radio: 6%
My answer: Internet. I do go through the newspapers dad brings daily, but I rarely get much information from them and usually look up anything that does catch my eye on-line as well anyway. The fact that he usually just gets tabloids certainly doesn’t help.

25. During a normal weekday, how many hours do you spend on average following politics or current events on:
a) Television? 2.7 hours on average.
My answer: No time at all on an average day. I only follow the news on TV when something really important is going on and I believe the coverage is good.
b) Radio? 1.3 hours on average.
My answer: No time at all, period.
c) Written press (newspapers, magazines)? 0.8 hours on average.
My answer: About 15 minutes, I think.
d) Internet? 0.8 hours on average.
My answer: Varies greatly, but actually following such news… Maybe I could say 30 minutes? I read quickly.

26. Can you tell us how much did the Internet help you:
Note: Notice the huge number of people who didn’t answer this, 64-65% on each part of it. Still too few people using the Internet…
a) Keep in touch with people or groups who share your passions or hobbies?
– Very often: 12%
– Pretty often: 10%
– Rarely: 4%
– Very rarely / never: 10%
My answer: Well, since I only keep in touch with people on-line, it has to be very often.
b) Keep in touch with people or groups who share your religious or philosophical beliefs?
– Very often: 6%
– Pretty often: 7%
– Rarely: 5%
– Very rarely / never: 17%
My answer: Since these are not primary criteria, I pretty rarely met such people, but I’ll say pretty often because all those I did meet were met on-line, obviously.
c) Take part in common actions in support of the same viewpoint?
– Very often: 4%
– Pretty often: 6%
– Rarely: 7%
– Very rarely / never: 17%
My answer: Clearly very often, especially if petitions count.
d) Keep in touch with people or groups who share your political opinions?
– Very often: 5%
– Pretty often: 4%
– Rarely: 5%
– Very rarely / never: 22%
My answer: I’ll say pretty often, because I only started to seriously get involved in this before last year’s presidential elections.
e) Get involved in actions organized by the groups or organizations you are a member of?
– Very often: 3%
– Pretty often: 5%
– Rarely: 4%
– Very rarely / never: 24%
My answer: Once again, very often if petitions count.
f) Take part in street protests?
– Very often: 1%
– Pretty often: 2%
– Rarely: 3%
– Very rarely / never: 29%
My answer: Let’s say rarely because I was sort of around at one and meant to take part in another but got cold feet when I got there and saw how few people had gathered…

27. How interested are you in politics, overall?
– Very interested: 11%
– Pretty interested: 27%
– Not really interested: 31%
– Very little / not at all interested: 30%
My answer: Pretty interested, but that’s about things that deal with politics in general, not the mockery that passes for politics here now.

28. How often do you discuss politics and its effects on daily life?
– Daily: 28%
– A few times per week: 31%
– A few times per month: 13%
– Once per month or less: 13%
– Never: 14%
My answer: Considering how often I butt in when Remus or his associates post something, I’ll say daily.

29. How often do you end up thinking that politics is too complicated for you to understand?
– Always: 7%
– Often: 29%
– Sometimes: 34%
– Never: 25%
My answer: Quite frankly, never. Sometimes I understand all too well…

30. How often do you think that politicians think the same as people like you?
– Always: 2%
– Often: 9%
– Sometimes: 37%
– Never: 46%
My answer: Well, sometimes, some of them, those that never end up having a lot of authority. But even they usually quickly get over it, unfortunately.

31. Do you approve of making voting mandatory in Romania?
– Yes: 60%
– No: 36%
My answer: No. Just make it very clear that anyone who doesn’t vote has no right to complain afterwards. But also only allow people to vote if they prove that they’re at least somewhat informed.

32. Do you approve of reducing the voting age, so people will be able to vote at 16?
– Yes: 30%
– No: 65%
My answer: Yes, but keep in mind what I said above. Regardless of age, voting should be a privilege you earn once you prove you are at least somewhat informed regarding the options available and the issues at stake, not a right you automatically have.

33. Do you believe elections in Romania are frauded?
– Yes: 80%
– No: 10%
My answer: Yes, but I think the “voting machines” of PDL and PSD were pretty equal for the past few years, so I don’t really think this affected which of them won, but only made them appear to dominate the political scene more than they really did, since PNL could steal far fewer votes than either of them, UDMR could perhaps only work in the small area it more or less controls and the other parties never had the strength to do anything along these lines.


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