The leader of a new political party has just written to me from Bacău. I quote:I have wandered the snows of the county for a few days now. I've had very little rest, but have walked and talked quite a lot instead. The electoral problem consists in wiping off the oratorical traces left by your opponent, who spoke in the same place the previous day, and in dimming in advance tomorrow's opponent. Finding yourself in the middle of a world you know nothing about, whose every county, if not every village and hamlet, forms a different universe, you have to communicate with it, and you have to do it very carefully.'Fellow Romanians' is a form of address like any other; 'brothers' is already more heartfelt; 'my dears' supposes a kind of intimacy that you can hardly feel but that you have to aim at. I have exhausted my vocabulary: 'Folks,' 'fellow ploughmen,' 'responsible citizens.' To no avail: when struck, the voters' chords fail to vibrate. Their look is as blank as when tilling, their mouth is shut, and their mind indifferent. I may well have called them angels, cherubs or saints: it was all the same. The elections come, the landlords go: the show has been on many a time. Something different! Something different! In vain do you fret to find something different, everything has been said over and over again. The echo is broken, like that of a wooden hammer on wood.Have you heard of Rădoaia? You haven't. Rădoaia is a hamlet on the outskirts of Bacău. In the region, Rădoia equals Milan. All its inhabitants are artists, i.e. dulcimer, kobsa, and pan pipes players: musicians. And as race is decisive in terms of musical temperament, my beloved brothers-voters from Rădoaia are, to put it bluntly, gypsies. By which I mean no offence, God forbid! To be a gypsy is no shame, just as it is no shame to be an American or Japanese; so don't even think that the noble name of 'gypsy' might bear any disrespectful connotation. Rădoaia is part of the headquarters of the party I had to fight and the political property of Mr. Nicuşor Săveanu, who inherited it from his honorable father. Inhabited solely by musicians, about 135 voters, it swears on the sacred name of its political owner.To make a spectacular entrance in Rădoaia, I set off in an automobile. Whipping the silence with the horn, I aroused the hamlet from one end to the other, and as the place was uphill to my route, I found myself surrounded by a hundred children, who, in order to make it from their houses to the road faster, started rolling downhill. This is no symbolical figure of speech belonging to the electoral propaganda: the children did arrive somersaulting, crossing the snow of the slope like some stones. And they were all naked. You can imagine! In the cold of such a winter, one hundred noisy children somersaulting earnestly, in the same outfit in which they had been delivered into this world.But after the offspring came the perpetrators, as they are called by the law: the parents, all men, all musicians. The sound of an automobile is so rarely heard in Rădoaia and at such momentous times that it is worth following it. Good! Really good! Let's choose a house where to indulge in the most unpleasant of the political genres, the enflamed discourse. Frozen as my feet and hands may have been, the mission had to be accomplished and the fire of faith kindled.A platform is chosen. The setting and several copies of the big poster are taken out from a suitcase. Coughing, invocation of the muses. The room smells of ballads, music, and idyll. We have an audience full of Mozart's emulators: let us be careful. This public knows what style is and they practice it sighing on the violin. They know everything about the great works of jazz, they pluck the strings of the guitar and kiss the tubes of the pan pipes, the guttural wind instrument of Pan, the one with goat legs and lust and passion burnt lips. On the poster it reads, in the largest font size available in the printing house: 'The well-meaning folks – to honest and fruitful work; the thieves –behind bars!' It is a sentence that synthesizes our party's entire doctrine in a few words, impressive for all the voters who are fed up with the administration. In every corner of the country that I had roamed, hats were raised to salute the attempt to refresh and rejuvenate old methods.All over the country we were understood or at least interpreted. Here I have been speaking for almost an hour, making use of the harmony of the political voice in its sweetest tones. The artists present don't taste just any music or any tone. They know the secrets of hurdy-gurdies and the crooning of the voice accompanied by the fiddle. I go up to my principles and I come down. The very same statements that had been enthusiastically applauded in other regions are disparaged here. God, what kind of people am I dealing with? I grow shy, as if before some scholars from the school of Cicero or Demosthenes. And I wonder, like a poet among a party of poets that fail to applaud: 'Has my verse been bad?'Ah! Finally! The gypsy leader stands up.'Can we speak?,' he asked.'Why, of course, brothers! Do speak! That's why we've gathered here, to speak.'The leader was, as his position requires, a man and a half, i.e. a gypsy and a half. With the attitude of an inspired person that is just about to speak, he stands up and says:'The slogan!,' he says pointing towards a poster.'Ah! Is it about the slogan?, says I: 'our party's slogan.''Precisely!,' the leader goes on. 'You see, we are not exactly kosher…''But this is not about you, brothers. This is about important people who steal…''We're a sinful breed, master,' says the leader, carrying on his thought… 'We do filch every now and then, a hen here, a piglet there… Why go to jail for such small things? Wouldn't that be a shame?'My answer was bound to be embarrassed and I saw I was in a situation where I had to brand theft but approve of filching. Although I was on the eve of elections I couldn't do it, so I shut up, rambling something about how 'slogans' are for big shots and never for voters, the more so when they are musicians. The gypsy leader had to have the last word. He said:'You said: important people who steal, master… But they shut their eyes to a goose, we shut ours to a ministry, and so on; one hand washes the other and the job gets done…Look up Rădoaia on the map. And never go that way.

by Tudor Arghezi (1880-1967)