OPINION

Test of electorate’s maturity

We simply get what we deserve when we suffer at the hands of the inept politicians that we ourselves elect to office. For example, a recent report on likely candidates from major parties for the next municipal elections was depressing to say the least. Each and every one of the possible nominees is in the public eye due to television, people who have failed, in every circumstance, to prove that they are capable of leaving a lasting legacy. One is known for his appearances on daytime talk shows and for being close to the «grass roots,» the other has built her career on an ancestor’s fame and yet another appears committed to keeping his city as dirty and disorganized as it is today. If we elect any of these candidates for mayor of Athens and Thessaloniki, the onus will be exclusively on us. Of course, the parties are also partly to blame for their inability to think outside the party box and recruit successful people from the outside. Private television also carries partial responsibility for creating, exalting and continuing to support political duds simply because they will help with their ratings. But how do we break out of this vicious cycle? How can we convince the people of Thessaloniki that they deserve better local representation than what they have now? How can Athens acquire a technocrat for mayor who will set five major goals and make history, as so many other mayors in Europe have done? The best place to start is with us, the media, to become more honest about our judgments and to break the spell of the TV charmers. Next, as voters, we should study our options and ask candidates specific questions about specific issues. If we insist on playing the role of the sap, then we should stop complaining about the dismal state of our cities and consider, instead, what contribution we have made to it. The next municipal elections, for major cities at least, represent a test of political maturity for everyone, and especially for the electorate.