This thread is very interesting, I like the fact that your view of Poland (maybe the world) is so different to mine.
I am surprised that you are American but that just adds to my interest.
Would I be right in saying, that you think/feel/saw that since Poland joined West Europe it surrendered it self and sold out for a few Euro. And in doing so lost it's "Polishness" where before neighbors used to help each other and everyone was more or less the same (including foreigners), people turned to greed and "the all mighty dollar", that people fought and died to liberate their country and now have lost it to western influences (PC, happy meals, fast cars)?
Correct me if I missunderstood anything.
I am from Ireland and over the past 10 years Ireland has gone from a very poor country to one of the richest in western Europe, so I see huge similarities between Poland and my own country. I think Ireland in fact was poorer than Poland, My parents did not have a toilet or running water for an example. And although everybody talks about the "Irish miracle" or the "Celtic tiger(s)" there are people who miss the old Ireland. I myself am a property developer but I get sick to death with Irish people talking about prices of houses. We had a pub culture but now people are paying off the crazy mortgages and are afraid to "waste time" in essence the have joined the Rat Race. Not to mention the people who did not do well and who have fallen through the cracks of the change from poor Ireland to rich Ireland and are now left struggling with loan repayments.
Because the changes happened so fast people get a head of themselves, think they are better than they are, if you know what I mean. Ukrainian sweatshops in Poland, Dubliners saying bad things about "F**king refugees" (Not Polish) and we are probably the biggest nation of refugees.
But, and this is were we disagree, my parents now have a toilet each, taps in each bathroom and kitchen, people for the first time in maybe 800years are staying in Ireland because there are opportunities in Ireland.
Poland 6 years ago, when I first lived here, had massive unemployment (45% in some areas), corruption and malnourished children, they could not leave the country with ease and the American consulate was a big joke to get a visa.
Not very well eduated either.
This does not sound like the Poland I know, I would say Polish people hold education in a higher respect than money. This sentence did annoy me, excuse me for nit picking. Having no education is certainly nothing to be proud of or to emulate.
Like in Ireland, we used to be thick simple paddys, to put it simply, now we are educated and can make decisions for ourselves, our families, our country and even our Europe.
I think the thing that I disagree with the most is that in no uncertain terms you are calling Polish people weak, they have lost their Polishness, their culture and their independence. Cultures are dynamic, it is not some thing that sits in the corner and stays exactly the same. A friend of mine is a traditional Polish dancer, he travels the world, rightfully showing off Polish culture.
I think you may be sentimental, you obviously worked hard and are disgusted at how easy it is for young people now.
And all this without mentioning communism. Don't even get me started on that one.