OPINION

Political dialogue

At the dawn of the 21st century, Greece is faced with the challenges of a globalized world that is pregnant with both danger and opportunity. The country must take daring initiatives that will allow it to overcome reactionary barriers and open up new paths. A constructive dialogue among the country’s political parties would greatly contribute to this aim. This is the reason why Kathimerini has always emphasized the need for such a dialogue. On many issues, there is still much room for convergence. However, even on issues where parties are nowhere near a consensus, clarifying the views and disagreements of each would greatly help upgrade the quality of our political discourse. Everyday cockfighting on television windows is nothing but a distortion of political dialogue. The notorious talk shows are nothing but a stage where famous politicians compete with each other over who will utter the best line. They do more to entertain the viewing public than to inform it. However, politics is too important to leave it at the mercy of the expediencies that are hidden behind a cheap spectacle. This concerns the present and the future of the country and its citizens. Society needs straight talking. It needs synthesis whenever synthesis is possible, and clear-cut positions when differences of view are unbridgeable. The fact that the two major parties are led by young and moderate politicians, both of whom claim to have a vision for the country’s future and concrete proposals to deal with its problems, means that there is a chance that we can leave behind the sterile partisan confrontation of the past. This is also an opportunity for them to abandon sensationalism and focus on substance. Undecided voters appear to be influenced more by concrete programmatic statements than communication tricks. Holding an organized television debate between the political leaders, particularly the chairmen of the two front runners, is a vital need for a political system with a tainted credibility. PASOK should not turn down the proposal merely because this came from New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis. It is comforting that Papandreou did not follow the bad example of his predecessor, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who twice (in 1996 and 2000) avoided a televised confrontation with the conservative opposition leader. Papandreou originally welcomed the idea, but we will have to wait to see his final position.