The housekeepers

We have barely heard either of the two main contenders in this electoral race utter the word «vision.» They seem to have decided that it is best to indulge their vision in private, because their state of governance (six years of «new foundations,» «modesty» and «humility» and 20 more of «socialism,» «change» and «modernization») have made even their most fervent advocates relate «vision» with further drama and more problems. So, instead of «vision,» the catch phrase in this campaign is «housekeeping.» This is the magic incantation for 2009 and we hear it all the time in both PM Costas Karamanlis’s and PASOK leader George Papandreou’s speeches. The dreamers have descended from cloud nine, they’ve taken stock of their powers and realized that rather than presenting themselves as messiahs capable of creating an earthly paradise, it is probably best to simply cast themselves as capable building managers and good housekeepers. They are the ones who will bring order to chaos, manage our household with great economy, make sure there is no more waste. They will hand out no special favors; everything will be nice and neat and tidy. In short, Karamanlis and Papandreou promise to become something separate from the covetous party apparatuses that they are at the helm of. Sure, they may have wasted two or three decades before their mistakes made them any wiser, but now those who squandered funds, took bribes, arranged deals for friends and business associates, those who saw the state as the prey of the party, those who created the scandals of the Athens stock exchange, Vatopedi and Siemens, those who corrupted and were corrupt, now, as if by a miracle, will roll up their sleeves and get down to cleaning this house that we all share. «We will change,» is the oath they have taken before God and voter. And maybe some would believe them if it weren’t for the old adage: A leopard can’t change its spots.