Reason must win over partisanship

One of the basic flaws in our political system is that it does not accommodate the most obvious changes. Any impetus for these changes gets flattened by the wheels of petty politics long before the measures ever become policy. Some party officials have become self-proclaimed thought police. They penalize those who hold certain political views, turning dialogue into a populist contest. Thus Gresham’s Law now applies to public debate, and as bad money drives good money out of circulation, so populist views chase serious ones out of the public discourse. Fortunately, the government and the national economy minister rise above petty politics and do not hesitate to applaud or adopt proposals made by representatives of other parties, even by their opponents. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has often said the government’s enemies are the problems facing the country. He has repeatedly stressed that he is open to well-intentioned and constructive debate, and that he will not hesitate to adopt proposals that will help the country. This is manifestly not empty talk. He put his words into practice when he voiced approval of a proposal by PASOK deputy Alekos Papadopoulos to make all business transactions through banks in order to combat widespread tax evasion. Karamanlis applauded Papadopoulos’s criticism of the country’s early retirement threshold – despite the clamor of protest Papadopoulos’s comments created in his own party. Politics is all about reason, which no party monopolizes. Creative opinions can be found across the political spectrum. Parties are ultimately judged according to how they measure up to logic. And PASOK, unlike the government, cannot pass that test.