Public dialogue in Greece has always been about the big issues – those that would solve the problems of the country, Europe and the entire world in one fell swoop.
It was along such frivolous lines that SYRIZA believed it would give Greece socialism (the Greek version, nothing more serious than that) and would change Europe – with all the known terrible consequences. The smaller issues, however, went unaddressed and the result of that has been the permeation of impunity, incoherence and unbridled populism in daily life. And this, in turn, led the country to its present state of absolute dissolution.
As silly as it may sound, the process of putting the country back together could begin with a dress code. The general standards within the Greek Parliament, which have fallen to an unrivaled low, would not be elevated in any essential manner, but the imposition of a few basic rules of attire, such as male lawmakers having to wear a shirt and tie, and their female counterparts dressing likewise appropriately for their position, could infuse a certain sense of seriousness and give the House some of the prestige it deserves as an institution. It could possibly help shift the tone in Parliament, make lawmakers more careful with their behavior, make them think twice before they speak and feel some respect for the position they serve. This is not a matter of etiquette or conformism. Parliaments around the world acknowledge that a dress code imbues a sense of respect for the office among the populace.
Likewise, a dress code should also be implemented in other places, such as banks. Greece’s lenders want to cultivate a sense of security among the people who entrust them with their money and their business and personal transactions. This is why in other countries you will see all bank employees dressed carefully and looking clean-cut.
The same goes for airline pilots and transport workers. Anyone who has traveled with the Greyhound bus service in the US, for example, knows that the drivers always wear a shirt and tie for precisely these reasons, even though they usually cater to a less affluent clientele. In Britain, even real estate agents wear a tie.
Not all areas where public transactions are carried out can be treated like a beach or bar. How people dress when they’re serving in a professional capacity has a direct effect on the respect they are shown and the trust they instill in their customers or interlocutors.