It started with a minor case of corruption. The foreign minister accepting yacht and helicopter rides from a serial tender winner crony.
This was by no means a big scandal in terms of monetary value – we wish that was the scale of corruption in this country – but it was visible and comprehensible.
Come to think of it, it wasn’t really a scandal at all. People are cautious to get outraged these days. Much bigger things went down without consequences, and it hurts so much to get outraged – and then being helpless. Every time a scandal goes unpunished people sink deeper into learned helplessness and even Orbán was caught using oligarchs’ private jets and yachts and he only said that he will do so again. That was it.
So no one was truly shocked or outraged when the hyperactive foreign minister was caught on camera lounging on an oligarch’s yacht called the Lady Billion. Only OfFidesz talking heads on TV who barked that it is an outrage that journalists are allowed to do that and the security guards should have sank their motorboats for posing a national security risk.
And then we went on to look at our shoes and pretending it has nothing to do with us.
Except a few rebellious MPs, who are Hungary’s fiercest anti-corruption crusaders and insist on acting like stealing public money is still a big deal. (A lot of people must hate anti-corruption crusaders for reminding them of their own submission and being the living consciousness of a nation that wants its consciousness to die already.) They tried to make consequences happen – police and prosecution didn’t see anything to investigate – so they proposed a law that says that businessmen caught giving gifts to politicians should be banned from running in public tenders.
Which is a glaring reminder that politicians who accept bribes cannot be punished anymore.
Naturally, the motion will not go any further, it is just a proposal that will forever show how helpless we are against corruption when it is legalized and when the branches of power work together for their own interest rather than keeping each other in check.