SYRIZA’s argument that only it can represent the noble many against an evil minority highlights the confusion that reigns in Greece regarding who are the many and who the few, who are privileged and who are mere beasts of burden, what is progress and what is not.
It reveals a confusion of values, lazy thinking and a cynicism that we see not only in SYRIZA: There is a general trend toward oversimplifying complicated issues so that we can reinforce our own position and justify ourselves. Let us hope that SYRIZA’s overexploitation of this trick – and its apparent failure – will show the need for honesty and serious arguments in our public debate.
How do we distinguish between the many and the few? When hundreds of thousands of citizens suffer needlessly because of sudden strikes and work stoppages by employees of the mass transit system, who are the many and who the few, who the good and who the bad?
When those in positions of power are incapable of predicting problems, of planning solutions and of handling issues that are their responsibility, what is the relationship between the many and the few in government?
When the cost of the public sector keeps rising without a corresponding rise in competence, who is looking out for the future of the many?
When gangs operate with impunity in the center of Athens, destroying private and public property, trampling on the need of the many to believe that they live in a country where institutions function, who are the good and who the bad? When the public education system is undermined, who suffers most? The many or the few?
SYRIZA showed great artistry in exploiting the sense of the many that they are the victims of injustice, that they are under threat.
It persuaded them that under its flag they would be safe, they would regain their pride, they would wreak vengeance on those who brought ill upon them.
Exercising power, however, demands an ability to fulfill promises, to engender the feeling in citizens that you are sincere, that you seek to serve justice, that you want to achieve what is best for the country’s future.
Yet, today, SYRIZA wants to be re-elected on the basis of the threat that if the many do not vote for it, this will bring about the return of the others – the evil minority.
The party’s leadership did not realize that after nearly five years in power it has made many of its former voters feel that it cares less for them than it does for its core political clientele.
The many feel that the few who are in government are not on their side – irrespective of what those governing hope, irrespective of what they claim.