Tripping themselves up

It seems that the microcosms of PASOK and New Democracy are right — there must be a major conspiracy afoot. Who is pulling the strings?

Desperate voters, the citizens of this country who are beginning to see, with rising concern, that it was the political system that led Greece to this sorry state of affairs.

These are citizens, 90 percent of whom have lost all faith in both of the two major parties and would not like to see either in charge of running company, let alone a government. These are citizens who want to ?conspire? in order to achieve a national consensus that will set a few of the necessary goals that will help bring radical change to Greece.

Greeks are looking, with much anxiety and an increasing amount of desperation, for answers. They couldn?t care less about political parties anymore. They aren?t looking for dividing lines or who is right-wing or left-wing. They are looking for people in power who are capable and who can solve the problems that are besetting the country, not party yard dogs that do nothing but bark at each other. The narrow outlook of Greece?s political parties and their individual officials has made them skittish and prone to suspect conspiracies all around. This, nonetheless, gives them a sense of worth and makes them feel useful. The country may be sinking, but they?re quite happy to stay as they are and to let things continue as they are.

Is there anything surprising about this terrible political crisis, about the fact that the political system has lost its legitimacy and structure? Have both George Papandreou and Antonis Samaras realized how much ground they are losing, how much harm they are doing, when they take the podium in the Parliament and speak in the most antiquated, stilted style of political oratory? They are hurting themselves more than anyone else by choosing to surround themselves with all the wrong kinds of aides and advisers, by closing their ears to all constructive criticism and by putting their own feet in front of any step, any sign of consensus that is meant to bring about progress.

I don?t know what they?re thinking. I can understand how someone might feel when representing a system that is in a state of collapse. I also understand how angry citizens can become when, at a time like this, they feel that their political leaders cannot rise to the occasion.

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