OPINION

‘Extreme’ political events

The municipality of Mantamados (aka «Little Moscow») on the island of Lesvos, where the people recently elected a «right-wing» mayor for the first time, now has a serving police officer as its deputy mayor. Newspapers and television stations have pointed to these events as something unprecedented, unheard of and inconsistent. Similar astonishment has been expressed in the media at the decision by the new mayors of Athens and Thessaloniki, both of whom won office by a large margin, to include members of their opposition in their ranks. As usual, major sociopolitical changes have been going on beneath the surface, invisible to most people, and without any ideological or political guidance. At best, some politicians have become aware of them early on, as they are occurring, hastening to adopt them and give them expression. Most, however, are taken by surprise, refuse to recognize them and are eventually marginalized. Since the end of the 1980s, when political leaders were still in the grip of ideological conflict, voters have ceased to restrict themselves to «green,» «blue» or «red» cafés. The sea of humanity that used to flow out from party rallies has been replaced by the illusory spectacle of television. Ordinary voters were the first to notice that the differences between the two major parties had dwindled and their ideological divisions had crumbled, adhered to by only a few of our more maladjusted politicians. In that sense, the events of recent days are anything but extreme political phenomena. Just as meteorologists are taken by surprise, it is the shortsighted, the unprepared and the generally opportunist politicians who regard them as extreme.