Banks of Ukraine

I don’t know whether “attraction/repulsion syndrome” is a certified disorder, or just pop psychology. But it describes how I feel about the news.

Months before the election, I’m already maxed out on politics. But even though the word impeachment makes me think of an impaled peach, I would be shirking my civic duty if I continued to withhold evidence.

No, I don’t know anything about whistleblowers or blowhards. But I do have personal experience regarding one aspect of the hullabaloo that seems to be getting overlooked: the time-honored tradition of corruption in Ukraine.

Let me explain.

In 2011, my family and I traveled to visit my wife’s grandmother’s shtetl in Galicia, now Ukraine. From there, we went to daven by the graves of Rebbes, covering 2,400 kilometers in four days.

Along the way, our driver told us about a Ukrainian tradition of police officers stopping drivers … and asking for personal tolls.

I thought he was exaggerating, until the fourth or fifth time we got stopped.

If I still harbored any doubts, they were dismissed when we stopped at a souvenir shop outside of Kiev. One of the items on display was a piggy bank with a unique design for depositing coins. The “piggy” was a police officer holding out his hand to receive the money.

You can take that to the bank.

Mordechai Schiller, Brooklyn, N.Y.