Is anyone home?

There is a classic scene in old American comedies in which someone enters a house that is in complete chaos and shouts out, «Is anyone home?» Anyone observing the Greek political scene would be justified in asking the same question. First of all, on the one hand we have a government that seems to have forgotten why it was elected for a second term and, on the other, voters who are wondering why they voted for it. It is a government with young and serious executives, which is however lacking an action plan and a concrete program, as well as a system for ensuring it is enforced. This is all taking place within a climate of total absurdity in Parliament, where a number of loons and desperadoes have absolutely no qualms about turning everything topsy-turvy, even though Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is keeping a close eye on them, armed with the threat of expulsion. We also have an opposition that appears to be as bent on self-destruction as a kamikaze pilot, screeching toward its target yelling, «Tora, tora, tora!» The party is committing political suicide as it has managed to turn the extremely serious business of self-criticism and regrouping into a tacky reality show for public entertainment. I don’t know who is to blame, but the blame certainly does not lie with just one person. The mix of hysterical impresarios backing Evangelos Venizelos’s corner and the fanatic Papandreou fundamentalists on the other side is a dangerous and rotten one. One thing, however, is certain: We are unlikely to see a strong, modern opposition party emerging from this odd process. George Papandreou will be hostage to the most reactionary forces of PASOK if he is elected, and Venizelos, should he be made party president, will be hamstrung by his own promises. A government that plods forward without any guiding vision and which seems to have lost its step almost from the outset is a cause for concern. Throw in an opposition that spends its time and energy in group therapy without even mentioning the elephant in the room, and our concern becomes even greater. As things stand, what we can expect is a further strengthening of the extreme factions of each party or a complete redrawing of the political map. When we finally realize that some of our less developed neighbors are surpassing us in terms of political professionalism, then maybe someone will come up with an answer to the initial question: «Is anyone home?»