November 4

Hungarians have a knack for celebrating events that ended in utter defeat. For example, we celebrate the anniversary of October 23, 1956, that marks the beginning of a brief uprising against the Communist regime that the Soviets installed. The uprising ended on November 4, when one of the government members, betraying his comrades, called on the Soviet troops to retake Budapest and the country. The man who was prime minister over these two weeks was executed in 1958; the government member who called the Soviets back went on to rule the country till 1986. (You may want to check out this movie.) In our minds, November 4 is thus associated with defeat.

Now I hope that November 4, 2020 will be a different November 4, one that will be worth remembering. If Trump’s power ends, that will give a lot of hope to many outside the United States.

Here in Hungary, the government just announced another set of “emergency measures”, supposedly to address the worsening Covid situation. Most of these measures are meaningless—schools remain open, sports events are still happening with large audiences—, but at least they include “an extraordinary legal order”, which amounts to the suspension of the parliament’s power and gives the prime minister to interfere directly with companies and with everyday life, through decrees. In the meantime, government-controlled media keeps broadcasting misinformation about how Trump has already won.

Someone, a US citizen that I follow on Instagram, posted this meme in her story: “I voted and I am very nervous”. Well, I didn’t vote—I have no power to do that—but I am very nervous all the same. My country always managed to find herself in the crossfire between much larger powers, and our life—our liberty—always depended on who was stronger in this region.

We will have no general elections until 2022. I don’t know what chance we have to defeat or even challenge those who currently assume power over Hungary—the opposition is not doing great, either, and hasn’t been doing great for quite some time. But I know this: to have any chance, any hope to challenge them, Trump must go. US citizens, you live in a county that still counts as a superpower; your government still defines much of the power balance in the world. You may want to say you’re voting for yourself or for America; but, like it or not, you happen to be responsible for the greater scheme of things, too. I don’t know whether this is good or bad, but this is our reality.

I truly wish we will wake up to a November 4 that we will want to remember, not forget.

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