The excuse that “the serpent deceived me, and I ate” has been a part of the human narrative since the dawn of time, according to the Bible. Our homegrown Nazis would certainly throw the good book in the fire and not because they ostensibly get their learning from the ancient Greeks (and display it by holding up torches and attacking the helots), but because according to their “Mein Kampf” beliefs, anything remotely Jewish should be destroyed.
The ploy of consigning responsibility to the proverbial serpent neither explains nor justifies anything. If you don’t have the will power to stand up to temptation, if you succumb and sit on the serpent’s egg, it is not the reptile’s fault for trying to bite you. And just like that, after three electoral contests in which Golden Dawn scored high percentages, we can no longer talk about innocents who have been deceived. The first time, maybe; the second, not so much; but definitely not the third. And each time they were “deceived” was worse than the last because they knew more and had a better understanding of their decision. So the longer we hide behind the alibi that the Golden Dawn voters have been deceived by the serpent, the longer we shy away from the problem, not daring to look it in the face and call it what it is.
The possibility that some of Golden Dawn’s voters cast their ballots as they did to lash out against the system (blind to the fact that the party is itself an offshoot of the system) and not because they embrace the party’s ideas does nothing to acquit them. Those who vote for Golden Dawn but do not, for example, revere Hitler, are not free of political culpability, because by casting their vote they are legitimizing those who do indeed do. And anyway, it’s not as though they can write “Yes, but I have some reservations” at the top of the ballot before they put it into the box.
What has Golden Dawn’s record been so far? Dark and criminal, as ongoing judicial investigations are revealing and our experience as a society has shown. The party has succeeded in bringing together an element that already existed in Greek society and which embraced tyranny, chauvinism, racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism. It has never been small, just preferred to hide behind bigger parties. The junta was not that long ago and we can still vividly remember who served it voluntarily and who (albeit a small number) resisted it. The Nazi occupation is not so deep in the distant past either for us to have forgotten GD’s forefathers.
Voting for Golden Dawn is not an emotional overreaction, but an expression of ideological allegiance. It is clear that this is something we are ashamed to admit. We cannot confess that a large part our society embraces, openly and consciously, Golden Dawn’s prejudice. But if we keep refusing to talk about it, we will do nothing and have nothing left but our shame – which will just get bigger.