Above all, no delusions

“And above all, no delusions.» This line from poet Manolis Anagnostakis would be suitable at this moment, regardless of who won yesterday’s election. The reason is simple: In an attempt to rally their fighting forces, to attract some easily influenced yet politically crucial segments of the population, the contestants turned the country into a hothouse of «great expectations» and excessive hopes. The systematic, messiah-like cultivation of the delusion that all chronic problems can be solved swiftly and without too much effort (what is more, by the parties that gave birth to these problems) may bring in votes but, at the same time, creates more problems for the winner. It will not be dreams, collective dreams, which will come back to haunt them, but the mass delusions that have been cultivated. To be sure, that is not the only problem that Costas Karamanlis will have to tackle following his clear victory, all the more so as he lacks the luxury of a period of grace. He knows full well that one of his main obstacles is the party apparatus itself, and the expectations of certain party notables and of a large section of his followers that the party will provide for their «own kids.» Should the power-deprivation syndrome come out without check, should the so-called reinstitution of the State take place in a vengeful fashion, the divide separating Karamanlis’s consensus rhetoric from the spontaneous ideology of a large section of his party will become increasingly hard to disguise. Sometimes, handling victory is harder than achieving it. One of the latest campaign posters depicts the election winner pledging that he will govern «For all Greeks.» These posters will stay up for some time to come. This could prove beneficial, provided that the winners see in them a mandate and not a cause for an ironic smile or the manifestation of just another delusion.

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