Choosing our politicians more wisely

I have to admit that I have trouble understanding how we Greeks as a people think and operate. While we get angry vis-a-vis the quality of our politicians, for instance, constantly complaining about the fact that they seem to spend their days – and nights – on television panels, at the end of the day we still like them.

What triggered these thoughts was the publication – yet again – of a number of lists featuring the country’s most popular ministers and politicians as presented in various different opinion polls.

Those who don’t want to rock the boat, who don’t have anything to show for themselves, who adore public relations and are constant fixtures on local television screens tend to figure very high in these popularity listings. In some cases these people represent a complete vacuum, sometimes even young politicians clearly interested in their own public image.

So now I’m trying to figure out what is going on here. Haven’t we learnt anything from the crisis? Haven’t we realized that these popular “nothings” were the ones who brought us to the brink of bankruptcy in the first place? Haven’t we figured out yet that these spineless politicians did everything in their power to become popular and maintain that popularity while doing nothing to improve the country’s situation?

Some will argue that it is the media system that imposes these star politicians on the public. Clearly there is some truth in that. Supposedly, however, following the crisis, all of us who form public opinion have become more cautious about what we believe. People filter news they read and listen to and end up questioning everything.

Yet the opinion poll results show that we still prefer “plastic” politicians, those who ultimately pay more attention to blow-drying their hair prior to appearing at a public event, as opposed to their actual positions.

All of this demonstrates that we have yet to learn from our misfortunes. While we send unpleasant politicians home, we glorify those who are pleasant and ultimately incompetent.

So next time we are called to cast our vote, let us think hard about what kind of people we wish to see elected as our deputies, mayors, ministers and political leaders. If we make the same mistakes all over again, we will be the ones who will have to bear the responsibility.

We must also be aware of the fact that no mistake is recognized or rectified after we walk away from the ballot box.