Here we are, facing the ballot box again, torn between anger and a deep sense of national self-preservation. On the one hand we want to shake our leaders by the collars and demand that they change; on the other we want to support them because we know what early general elections could mean to stability right now.
We are scared that positive financial results in the past few months may lead some in the government to believe that they can go back to their old ways. We are mad about the succession of taxes we have been hit with and wonder how rational people from the world of business can enter politics and almost instantly seem to lose their sense of proportion. On the other hand, we don’t want Greece to live through a leftist experiment based on a nebulous plan and conducted by inexperienced politicians and members of PASOK’s old guard.
We are disgusted by the level of vulgarity to which political rhetoric has sunk, by politicians throwing their weight around and striking fear into voters’ hearts, bullying them. We look on in fear as fascist rhetoric becomes acceptable, not just from the far right but from the far left as well.
We are enraged at the inability of the center-right to behave like a modern European party, or shake off their old-fashioned perceptions and the instinct to guard their interests. And of course we are disheartened by the fragmentation of the center-left, which seems to be either talking to itself or expending its energies on exhausting personal games and vendettas.
Ultimately, we keep rediscovering that the country is being governed by an elite that cannot agree on the fundamentals and that cannot cast aside the no-goodniks that litter its ranks and put their own interests above those of the country.
We want something new – really new – and not just something that looks cool on a superficial level. Are we asking too much? Maybe. But we are weary and our institutions are so badly broken that they can no longer turn out anything better than what we have today. For four years we have been edging along the edge of the cliff but have kept from falling thanks to the Greek people’s maturity, patience and fortitude. Once again at the polls, the onus falls on the regular folk and hopefully the governing powers will listen to their message. If all goes well, they will acknowledge why people are mad and change things. If not, any return to the past will lead to an even greater catastrophe than the one we have been fearing this whole time.