OPINION

Rose-colored spectacles

Main opposition PASOK supporters in the northern city of Veria hardly had to rack their brains the other day to come up with the slogan of «Down with Karamanlis’s dictatorship.» Their gray matter intact, all they had to do was dredge up the same slogan used by New Democracy supporters back in 2004 when PASOK was still in power and change the ending. The fact that most of those doing the shouting in Veria are too young to remember anything about the dictatorship is no excuse – a lack of knowledge of history is no basis for claims of innocence. To be fair, the leaders of the two parties do not agree with such idiotic and potentially dangerous slogans, yet their refusal to adopt them is about as meritorious as their shouting to supporters over loudspeakers urging them to tone down their insulting and abusive chants. Supporters, be they of political parties or soccer clubs, will turn down the heat for a few minutes only, because deep down they know that their leaders really don’t want to silence them, especially when it comes to fiery slogans that become rally cries and strengthen party sentiment. It is this sentiment that produces and propagates slogans which, despite their pretence at being pro-democratic, are unable to hide their deeply undemocratic nature. The faithful of one party or another are taught to believe that their particular party is tantamount to democracy, truth and the nation, and as such all opponents are nothing but a miasma. For the party faithful, democracy exists as their exclusive right, it is only theirs to be enjoyed. For these same people, the state is the grand prize, a prey that can be tasted only by «comrades.» When this is the mind-set, it is hardly surprising that anyone who tries to keep one away from the prize is seen as an «aberration of democracy,» a «dictatorship.» Thus viewed, democracy has but one color, that of the party.