OPINION

A political haze

The political crisis which is now ravaging our country is indicative of the broader fact that the political system established following the collapse of the military dictatorship in 1974 has finally come full circle. As a result, our political agenda is now being determined by the electronic media, with politicians relegated to a strictly secondary role. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou have been harshly criticized, blamed by supporters and adversaries alike for their ineffective management of a deteriorating situation. Politicians and analysts have long extolled the waning of the sharp ideological differences of the past – those between conservatives, liberals and the communist left. However, those old cleavages have been replaced not by new ones but rather by a kind of political haze. The political world’s attention has become focused exclusively on the economy, as if the only issue of concern within society is that of earning a better livelihood. This is a tragic failure, not only for Greece but also for the entire European system, of which our country forms a part. Despite years of economic reforms, the average Greek’s quality of life continues to fall. The state struggles, in vain, to curb the public debt while countless citizens are in over their heads with loan debts. Citizens nonetheless seem to be looking ahead, although they are steadily losing their faith in the leadership of the two major political parties. Our political life is no longer being determined by political parties and their leaders, or by businessmen or trade unions – despite claims to the contrary – while various media personalities are emerging as self-appointed regulators. Most of these are from television or radio, which offer a free «show,» in comparison with newspapers, which the reader has to make the effort to buy before reading. It was long trumpeted as an achievement of a democratic system that citizens gained the ability to inform themselves on current affairs and form their own opinions without having to leave the comfort of home. However, the result for the average viewer has been confusion, indifference and revulsion, while also encouraging new protagonists who want to replace a rotten system in the name of some general principle or other. In other words, there is a «constant revolution» of smug protagonists in the electronic media against a non-existent regime, without any hope for the establishment of a new system. Unfortunately, citizens’ hopes for a better deal are being thwarted daily as citizens are increasingly distancing themselves from both New Democracy’s and PASOK’s leaderships. This could well herald the end of the longstanding but now dated bipolar political system.