OPINION

The new idolatry

“We interrupt this program to tell you that he has just arrived at the state television headquarters.» «He walked 50 meters without bodyguards.» «He paid the tolls himself.» «This is no pilgrimage, it’s a movement.» «Wake up, Andreas, to see the child of Change.» «A new Greece is opening up before us.» «A new contract of Honor.» «We interrupt our program once again to tell you that we are now seeing him doing his 10th push-up.» «By coach through Greece.» These are only some of the manifestations of the new idolatry, the product of an imperial-type coverage by the electronic media. And all are non-political or, rather, profoundly political elements since it was decided that the type of politics that best suits us is light, human politics – Clintonism adapted to the needs of a Balkan nation. George Papandreou is the third take on Papandreou-type populism in Greek history – the most sophisticated one. The slogan «We are with the Popular Rule» of his grandfather was succeeded by the «People in Power» of his father, and now by his own «Direct Democracy,» the «Open Party» and, of course, once again, the «New Greece.» As if PASOK is not the party that has been in power for two decades. As if PASOK’s young leader has just arrived, immaculate, benign and all-powerful, the new Paraclete, the latest member of the disappointing chorus of messiahs. Our vanguards had presented reformism as a cosmogony that would unhook Greece from the immaturity of personality cult. And yet, in order to avert its collapse, reformism is returning to that which it disdained: the construction of saviors. «Consistency and continuity,» they were saying all these years. It seems that what they really meant was that consistency had to be sacrificed for the sake of continuity.