OPINION

Turning a deaf ear to society

At this critical time, a time of abject sadness and defeatism, the government had a golden opportunity to boost the public’s morale, and at no financial cost to boot. It could have achieved this by simply drafting a new taxation law that would be more equitable, more effective and much, much easier to be implemented.

But, it didn’t.

So far, the information that has leaked regarding changes being made to the tax system suggest that it will be neither simple nor fairer. In contrast, it appears to be designed to punish families with children at a time when the demographic statistics are showing a sharp drop in birthrates, while there has been nothing said about any new mechanisms to curb burgeoning tax evasion.

Taxation is an area that tests the stuff of a democratic state more than any other. It shows whether a state is prepared to treat all of its citizens fairly and equally and if it wants to be a just and a functional state. However, implementing the kind of changes that would make this possible requires a firm understanding of reality, a government that heeds the deeper needs of society and is aware of its shifting expectations.

This is not happening in Greece, mostly because there has always been a deep chasm separating the political system from society.

The political system, which is already lacking in ability and skill, seems more interested in expending valuable time and energy on self-preservation and its own parasitic reproduction rather than reaching out to a sorely tested and increasingly hostile society.

Society on the other hand has suffered through three years of losses and increasing pain, and has changed the way it thinks and acts on many levels. It has lowered its threshold of expectations almost to zero, it has adapted to a poorer way of life and has accepted massive changes to they way people work and are paid.

For the majority, the only driving force left is the survival instinct.

Most Greeks are ready for change and mentally prepared for it. They are waiting to hear a plan, to be presented with a set of goals and to feel a sense of solidarity once more. Meanwhile, in the absence of a plan and goals, they drift away, downgrade their needs, shrivel up and turn their backs on collectivity.

The political system has not only failed to synchronize itself with society, the sovereign citizenry, the people who gave it its mandate; it has also failed to perceive the huge magnitude of the changes that this society had undergone.