It’s hard to believe that there can be such a thing as moderate and fair political discourse in Greece or responsible and meaningful political dialogue for that matter. The reason for this pessimism is a result of several obstacles.
The first of these obstacles is that domestic politics is caught up in a never-ending pre-electoral cycle that feeds self-satisfaction, violent verbal exchange and blanket rejectionism.
A second obstacle is inner-party dissent which is either leaked surreptitiously or loudly proclaimed. Such crises, which also appear to affect Greece’s minor political parties, inevitably force their leaders to campaign within the party fold as they would during a national election: They indulge in hyperbole, self-satisfaction and loud allegations.
All this was echoed in the speech of conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras during weekend events celebrating the 40th anniversary since the founding of conservative New Democracy – a party that can barely disguise the tension between competing egos and ideas.
Even though Samaras saw no reason to justify his absence from a significant chunk of New Democracy history, his task was still rather challenging: He had to fire up his audience both in and outside of the party during a time of collective depression. To do so, on top of the anticipated promises – whose fate depends on the whims of the troika – he went on to make a major confession which he hoped would boost people’s morale: “Step by step,” he said, “the country is exiting the crisis, restoring its dignity and independence.”
Of course, such reassurances can hardly provide a boost when their lilting tone is completely out of sync with the collective despondency, so much so that it is actually canceled out.
To be sure, you have to appreciate the honesty behind such an admittance. However, you cannot ignore its late timing nor its intentions – let alone its very implication.
And this is no other than the loss of independence, which is fact, unlike its restoration, which is hope. The implication is that the country, its leaders, its people, its very soul was demeaned, insulted, slandered, humiliated and tarnished. Worse, all that did not come from some age-old enemy but from our peers and partners – most of all, the Europeans. After Mendel’s laws on inheritance came Merkel’s laws on hegemony.