Can we all just take a step back? We keep on repeating ourselves at the risk of becoming compulsive, if not peculiar, but the simple fact is that our country will not go far with all this hate in our public discourse.
Our unease and sensitivity over this discourse is not new. They are anything but new. We dissented to the anti-bailout hysteria, including the displays of New Democracy at the time. We also opposed SYRIZA’s inflammatory rhetoric during its unfettered opposition to the government and the exploitative use of polarization in 2015, including its divisive rhetoric about “germanotsoliades” (a slang term used for Greeks who collaborated with the German occupying forces during World War II).
We also openly expressed our opposition to the extremes reached by the anti-SYRIZA camp, to their fervor and the use of that cursed word, “traitors,” that was so casually bandied around. This is not a question of decorum or visuals. It is about protecting democracy and social cohesion – and ultimately our survival as a nation.
Such a toxic political climate always brings out the worst in us and entices all of us to participate in this mudslinging. Hooliganism is contagious.
We have reached a point where we are at risk of a very deep political divide in Greece. Similar to those divides that cost us so much in the past. This abundance of irrationality and endless hatred have made the surreal question “are you with Lignadis or Koufodinas” appear rational.
Is there a solution to this? This is a conversation being held everywhere; we are not alone in this madness. There are no simple answers and I am personally terrified of the fact that Twitter can decide who can express opinions and who cannot. On the other hand, there is a great need for politicians, and all of us, to lay down some red lines in public discourse, to apply some kind of “thermostat” that will stop the temperature from getting too high in the furnace of public confrontation. Before it is too late.