Mitt Romney?s rumination that there is no reason for him to pursue the vote of 47 percent of Americans — because they are dependant on state funding and so will vote for President Barack Obama — reveals a truth that is at the heart of every political system. Even though they speak of the need for unity, and profess to have all citizens? interests at heart, political leaders base their power on specific groups, which they then support at the expense of others. Speaking to rich donors, Romney flattered his audience by demeaning the ?the other side? — the people whom he portrayed as addicted to state funds, who (ostensibly) live at the expense of the creative forces represented by his donors.
It is likely Romney will pay for his cynicism, because he insulted a large part of the ?47 percent? who are not moochers, who are not welfare junkies. These are people who might have voted for the Republican candidate in November. Romney ignored that power is based, to a great extent, on the trust that people show in their leaders, whether they vote for them or not. Romney?s declared lack of interest for nearly half his country?s people will hinder not only his election campaign but, if he were to win, his relationship with his fellow citizens.
In Greece today we have to face the dramatic consequences of years of unbridled flattery of many groups of political clientele. All the parties represent some groups and count on them for support. In the years of prosperity, many groups benefited, without this being at the expense of others. There was enough money for all. Now, each group is forced to fight to maintain some of its gains.
All our political parties — in government and in opposition — still look forward to the backing of some groups, which they support at the expense of others. Like Romney (but without confessing it), they have written off large sections of the population, such as private sector employees and the unemployed, because they can do nothing for them, and they support others in the hope that they will gain their support. That is why no party wants to see layoffs in the public sector. Because if even one person is fired there, suddenly, this massive group of 700,000 workers and their families will collapse, and each will be the equal of other citizens — equally angry and afraid.
Our politicians dread citizens who are not in groups — groups that can be bought with favors in exchange for support. Independent citizens demand equal rights, opportunities and sacrifices. If the spreading deprivation and insecurity lead to greater equality, our current political system will be out of its depth.
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