Maria Katsounaki MARIA KATSOUNAKI

Going from ‘nobody’ to that one person

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics

Two recent opinion polls from two different sources point to more or less the same findings: a lead for opposition New Democracy and its leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, an increasing grudge against SYRIZA (surveys show that 77 percent of the party’s supporters do not approve of the government’s performance), a sense of pessimism regarding the future as well as a certain ambivalence with regard to the possibility of snap elections, given that 51 percent of respondents believe that the coalition administration should continue its mandate.

There is one more finding which seems to be a constant throughout the opinion polls: The answer to the question “Who do you think is most appropriate for the position of prime minister?” is “Nobody” (41.5 percent).

The loss of trust in the country’s political staff, or, to be more precise, the “negative impression that respondents have of political leaders” (as formulated in the latest survey carried out by the University of Macedonia for Skai Television) should not bring many smiles to people’s faces. If we wish, at least, to maintain some kind of contact with reality, we ought to steer clear of easy explanations and dismissals.

Polarization favors only the extremes, for it keeps in the limelight all sorts of punishers and prosecutors, people who go around with a crime sheet in hand along with their prosecuting obsessions; it reinforces Euroskepticism and nationalism as well as the supporters of clear-cut – in other words – easy solutions. Only there are no easy solutions.

Besides, the failure of the political system is partly due to this parameter of easiness. Think of the slogans that are thrown around for short-term political gains, such as “There’s money,” “I’m tearing the bailouts day by day, page by page,” “We will use one law and one article to abolish all of the austerity measures” and so on.

Slamming rivals and displaying arrogance and a readiness for confrontation are not enough for this “nobody” to turn into one person, for them to acquire a name and surname and go on to cause a visible crack in the unreliability front. In reality, of course, no one can avoid this sort of behavior entirely. Nevertheless, what is needed at the same time is solid arguments that will not be intransigent, that will inspire without being deceiving, that will reconcile people with the difficulties they are facing without going in search of rivals to blame for them, that will not stir up fantasies and nostalgia, without, however, excluding emotion, that will defend values without being moralistic.

If this combination seems hard to achieve, let us not forget that easiness has already proven disastrous, stacking up crises as opposed to solutions.

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