Noise, confusion and conflict had shaped our reality before the coronavirus pandemic struck. We inhaled and exhaled fanaticism while the public debate was dedicated entirely to proving who was “bad” and who was to blame.
It will take time for each and every one of us to fully realize the effects of the pandemic on politics, on society and on our personal lives. What is certain, however, is that everything is changing rapidly and overtaking us without a moment of pause for our anxiety or melancholy.
The old world and the new are in confrontation again, but this time there will be no grace period for the old world. And that is a radical change.
The responsibility falls on those people in public life who are in charge of making decisions that change our lives. It falls on those who have an institutional role, on public officials, politicians, those who are seen as public role models, and on those who are obliged to filter their thoughts or reactions.
And perhaps it is precisely during that crucial time that passes between thought and action that something new is conceived.
Judicial officials, politicians who use social media and mayors who equate work with public relations need to slow down, even if the boundaries are blurred.
When the situation gets out of hand in courts, on social media and in public squares, who will be left to deal with the problem if the people trusted with these responsibilities undermine their role by displaying overemotional behavior or allow themselves to be overcome by arrogance and the need to be constantly present?
What happens when prosecutors imitate politicians, politicians imitate prosecutors and mayors merrily enjoy their power?
To be fair, it is important that Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis apologized for the overcrowding at Thursday night’s unveiling of the new fountain in downtown Omonia Square and admitted to committing a “very big mistake.”
Apologizing is quite foreign in the Greek political ethos. But in this case, if there was even one carrier of the coronavirus in the square, the apology would not halt the spread of the virus.
In the old world, there is an excess of arrogance, of the belief of infallibility by all kinds of people, of sloganism to the detriment of argumentation, of the demagogy of irrationality.
In the new world, there is room to recognize an error.