The pendulum of disillusion

The consoling thing about the opinion polls as to who is the most suitable person for prime minister, is that they give an equal percentage to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, PASOK leader George Papandreou and to Homer’s archetypal Nobody. So it was not only the dynastic leaders Constantine Karamanlis and Andreas Papandreou that provided heirs. Perhaps the Karamanlis/Papandreou dilemma that we have been faced with for half a century is the reason for the high percentage given to Nobody. Those two men offer us their surnames as their greatest qualification, even though now this has become a disadvantage. The epithet «most suitable» doesn’t mean much, as we know from the premiership of Costas Simitis. As long as the choice is more or less a given, resorting to Nobody satisfies momentary or even more longstanding frustration but does not solve the problem. No problem is solved by deferring it, even if that is precisely the strategy governments follow. They govern by continually postponing decisions. Those who find Papandreou the most suitable person to govern the country have not been won over by his rhetorical skills, his (nonexistent) campaign platform or the (indiscernible) brilliance of his party cadres. Nor, in last year’s elections, were those who voted for Karamanlis won over by his rhetorical skills (which had become monotonous), the (indiscernible) brilliance of his party cadres or his wonderful government work, so wonderful that it reduced half the country to cinders. The choice, made with a heavy heart, is dictated by choosing between the lesser of two evils (although in politics the lesser evil is still evil), or by a desire for some change that is certain to prove merely superficial, and is therefore uninspiring. In Greece, the countless ranks of disillusioned voters have lost any illusions even before going to the election booths, not afterward. That is the disappointing service the two «most suitable» candidates have had to offer their country. Nobody, however, is in no way to blame.

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