Dangerous ambitions

I would very much like to ask all those dreaming of becoming the country’s next prime minister whether they have thought it through properly and are sufficiently prepared, with a specific plan and an even more specific team to implement it. Daydreamers abound. Some feel they have been treated unfairly by history while others wish to take revenge for injustices suffered by their parents. There are also those who are immature enough to believe that the premiership will simply fall into their laps, just like everything else.

Very few realize how tough the job of prime minister in a country which has fallen apart actually is. The way they seem to ignore danger is impressive. They could at least realize that for the first time in decades, a wrong move while at the country’s helm could lead to disaster for the country and themselves. But they still insist on working solely on their publicity skills. You hear supposedly serious people boasting about receiving backing from newspapers and businesspeople. So what? Even if they do get elected, who will govern the country amid such adverse conditions? Those who backed them in the first place will turn against them if they don’t return the favor – this has always been the case. And when the going gets really tough, whoever has realized this dream will find himself alone in the Maximos Mansion, feeling the tremendous pressure exerted by the Greek people, the country’s lenders and interest groups on the one hand and history waiting to issue its verdict on the other. Partisan sycophants who seemed like giants in party offices will seem like midgets as they take on positions of even basic responsibility. Ambition is legitimate. What angers people, however, is the shallowness and unbearable lightness with which everyone across the political spectrum is preparing themselves: with low-quality staff, a complete lack of planning, big words and ludicrous tactics.

Some of it is our own – citizens’ and the media’s – fault. We glorify communication mastery and light populism and condemn anyone who comes across as gray and serious. Acting tough and playing the media game properly is today’s winning ticket. But this doesn’t lead anywhere. Antonis Samaras will eventually leave office and history will tell whether he did everything in his power to accomplish his mission. He has certainly given his role as premier much more than most people expected. It’s time to get stricter with anyone who wants the country’s top job. In the past we put our trust in people who had never worked before, who had never felt the threat of getting laid off. We considered pamphlets with pretty graphics sufficient plans for governing. We should not fall into this trap again because things are really serious this time around.

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