Just before we cast the vote

Just before we cast the vote

When the pre-election period kicks off with the case of the alleged sexual abuse of a woman by SYRIZA MEP Alexis Georgoulis, nothing bodes well for the path towards the ballot box, and toxicity abounds. As the foul-smelling case of alleged criminal acts takes center stage in the political agenda, the confrontation is bound to ignite each side’s baser instincts.

Unexpected incidents in politics are, as a rule, only unpleasant, and the handling of such incidents from political parties – whether they involve disasters, deadly accidents or serious allegations of abusive behavior – usually involve the same general line of defense: “Look who’s talking.” One can almost guess the arguments and counter-arguments of each side, as is the case with well-known movies, where the lines of the main characters come to mind almost automatically. But this neither diminishes nor does it make more tolerable incidents in public life or failures of the public administration that defy all reason.

In the one month that remains until the elections on May 21, we are called upon to decide, not only what kind of government we want, but also what kind of pre-election period we want. What topics need to be discussed as important and decisive to our lives and which of them are just gnawing away at the time until we will have to choose behind a curtain either the preferred party or the lesser evil.

Meanwhile, there are two uncontrollable variables floating in the ever-toxic waters of politics. One is called the “gray zone” (the undecided, invalid vote, or abstention), which public opinion polls put at around 17%. The other is found in the research conducted by the Eteron Institute: a significant percentage of around 13% of the electorate could, “in some cases,” agree with anti-democratic solutions, that is, that “dictatorship is perhaps preferable to democracy.”

A part of society is being radicalized, is devaluing democracy, is indifferent and flirts with the unthinkable. This population lives in its own closed universe. What can penetrate or affect it?

In an interview years ago, Byzantinologist Helene Glykatzi-Ahrweiler had summarized such predicaments with the following statement: “If the incompetent lead, then the competent are to blame. And if the unworthy are in charge, then general obsolescence is to blame.” Let’s keep that in mind as we head toward the election.

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