Butchered dialogue

In the «television democracy» which we are inhabiting, the election campaign is being waged as a post-political «lifestyle» rather than as the exercise of politics. Our would-be rulers are doing nothing more than adapting to the implacable demands of vote-gathering, even to the point of risking their own personal credibility. Yet the struggle for power is not a question of fashion. It has a direct effect on the country’s future and, to some extent, on the people’s standard of living. Greece is facing challenges in the form of both opportunities and dangers. That is why courageous initiatives are called for in order to overcome past limitations and to open up new avenues. Although everyone is invoking this reality both generally and figuratively, very few people are translating it into specific political proposals, despite convergence on many major issues. Yet even where it is not possible to find common ground, making one’s positions clear and determining the boundaries of the differences of opinion would be a major step toward improving political life in this country. The same applies to dialogue, which everyone is invoking; however the daily sparring on television is a distorted version of the concept. Even when it does not degenerate into a cockfight, these shows are merely contests as to which politicians can produce the cleverest sound bite. They serve more to entertain rather than inform the public. Politics, however, is too serious an issue to be subjected to the expediency of cheap spectacle. George Papandreou and Costas Karamanlis claim to have a vision for the future. This is their chance to transcend the bounds of simply making an impression and to get to the heart of the issue. A convincing argument might do more than an image to sway undecided voters.