OPINION

The middle kingdom of Great Expectations

According to the Gospel of Matthew there are nine beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit, they who mourn, the meek, they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, etc. It is not beyond the realm of reason that there might be some secret gospel, one that hasn?t yet made it into the light of day, that contains a tenth beatitude, bringing a harmonious response to the ten commandments: Blessed are the voters, for they shall inherit the kingdom of elections.

Voters, moreover, also belong in the category of the merciful, as all vote-poachers know, as well as of those who mourn (this category is better known by the fact that they like to say they would rather cut off their hand than cast their ballot for so-and-so), those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and, as such, those who are poor in spirit.

It?s true that they don?t belong in the same category as the meek, at least at this particular juncture of indignation, but when even the gods are indignant, like Jesus in the temple, mortals suffering such anxieties are unlikely to stand out.

Truly happy are the givers and the receivers of votes. Even happier than them are those who are in control not just of their own ballot, but of the entire family?s, according to a very Greek tradition which does, of course, recognize the voting rights of children aged 18 and above and women, though this does not mean that the authority of the patriarch is completely gone. Even the mythological Penelope must not have heard such sweet words as those heard by voters today coming from the honey-dripping lips of our suitors over the courting period, the middle kingdom of Great Expectations. ?Responsible? the object of desire is called; ?mature? it is lauded; the choir sings of ?historical significance? and the angels whisper that it is endowed ?with memory and judgement.? And in order to get the smallest of smiles to appear on its lips, they don?t promise ?a thousand sheep? as traditional songs would have it (though New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras has come close to this in his promises to livestock farmers), but instead vow to right injustices, to readjust wages to equitable levels, to ensure that certain people are exempt from certain taxes, to facilitate payments, to increase rights, to reduce taxes, to raise pensions, to provide guarantees and, of course, of all the revolutionary ideas, to fully legalize all illegal constructions (playing to the environmentalist in every one of us).

We needed something jolly to chase away our blues right now. This is where the fairy-tales come in. This is where the jokes, worthy only of April Fool?s, count.