When we talk about “simple folk” – just to be clear, without any hint of condescension – we all know more or less who we’re referring to: people who don’t claim to have insider information or access to the obvious or more nebulous centers of authority, who are concerned mainly with what goes on in their family and daily lives, who don’t pretend to know important or quasi-important people, don’t read newspapers very often, use the radio to listen to music and watch the news on television mainly in the event of a major disaster. Furthermore, they don’t belong to the category of know-it-alls – those who claim to have a sixth sense or to be smarter than the rest of us, who jump into every conversation with a claim of superior knowledge.
These simple folk are not naive, they are simply not in the thick of the constant daily buzz and cannot find a start, middle or end to the thousands of fragments of information and conflicting scenarios with which they are so mercilessly bombarded. And even if they are extremely savvy and have specialized knowledge, such as legal expertise say, without knowing all the facts and evidence, without having time to put the pieces together, they probably still can’t make sense of things anyway. And this is why the simple folk can do nothing but express amazement at the reflexes of the government, of the country’s political parties and of the media: Even before the rudimentary facts of the case were known (the accusation made by Independent Greeks MP Pavlos Haikalis that he had been offered a bribe in order to back the coalition government’s presidential candidate), the know-it-alls (those who decide first and study later) had already reached a verdict.
This haste to judge raises the obvious question: Do we need a justice system after all? Also: Do we need an independent justice system?
The simple folk would never take a passive “I don’t know” stance vis-a-vis these questions, as they would to hundreds of others such as whether they know who Giorgos Apostolopoulos is after all and what role he plays. Is he a multifaceted financial expert who has in the past worked as an adviser to prime ministers and party chiefs or is he a man “lacking the intellectual ability to set up a bribery case,” as Kyriakos Tombras, the head of some movement or another who claims to be bosom buddies with Apostolopoulos, told all and sundry via the media?
Is the involvement of Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos enough to prove that the whole case is unfounded, given his proclivity for conspiracy theories? And the simple folk would, in turn, ask what could possibly justify such debasement.