OPINION

Dancing with the Stars?

The country is going through one of the most critical periods in its history. Europe is in the eye of the storm and facing major problems. And what did we do? We sent one of the worst bunch of MEPs to the European Parliament. We did this through direct democracy, with our very own ballots. We didn’t vote for academics who are experts in European affairs, we didn’t vote for people who can stand their ground at European forums; we voted for leading personalities of TV democracy, soccer players and party members who care little for European issues and have their minds set on partisan activity back home. Mind you, this wasn’t always the case.

The same, if not worse, occurred in 2012. Set on punishing the system, we voted for our own Parliament from all the leftovers. In the process, we witnessed incredible characters turning the House into a stage for farce. Unfortunately, this was not only the case in terms of so-called anti-systemic parties. This practice was also adopted by those parties which supposedly represent the country’s middle classes. People who have been active in the country’s political arena for dozens of years are unable to recall ever having experienced or heard all that they have in the House during the 2012-14 period.

Now it looks like we might make the same mistake all over again. Parties are in search of all kinds of TV personalities as candidates. Serious people feel displaced from the political arena, unless they’re scions of political families. I wonder whether the party leaders actually realize what they’re doing. Could they be so insensitive to the point of being unable to play the role that their position demands and instead constantly go after the lowest common demoninator?

We’re all responsible in this case: the media and television in particular, turning nobodies into role models and public dialogue gurus; and the rest of us, of course, citizens who are getting ready to send our worst to Parliament so that we can then curse about the situation without feeling guilty. If we vote for clowns, media products lacking the ability of judgment, people without CVs and experience, who will we blame for the mess we’ll find ourselves in? Who is to blame when we supposedly protest against clientelism and then vote for anti-systemic candidates who also end up appointing their own to various positions?

So, before you head to the ballot box, make time to do some research into those you’re planning to vote for, irrespective of party allegiances. Look out for their resume, which should be posted on the Internet. Think logically about the kind of specifications they should fulfill in order to represent you. Forget about TV role models and think of your own and everyone else’s responsibility. For God’s sake, we’re not voting for the “Dancing with the Stars” finals on January 25, but for those who will represent and lead us during one of the country most pivotal periods.