We musn’t forget the other culprits

Gripped in the vise of economic shock therapy, the public is demanding that at least one crooked politician finally be put behind bars. Until recently, this had never happened because the party «tribes» covered each other’s backs. Now that the political system has been shaken to its core, this attitude has become a luxury the system can no longer afford. In an effort to save its own skin, the ruling PASOK party realized this fact faster than its predecessor New Democracy did. Sullied politicians are today being thrown directly into the media arena to be consumed by public rage. Former PASOK minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and his shady real estate dealings are the most recent example. Catharsis is imperative. Even when it is no longer possible to bring judicial proceedings against politicians who have broken their vows of office, moral censure is necessary. Investigative committees need to bring forth not just the amateurs, but the professionals of political corruption too. Catharsis, though, is annulled as a process when it is used by the government to divert the public’s attention and anger from other areas. The justified lack of trust felt by the people in state institutions has already made the road back to health very slippery indeed. Catharsis should not be allowed to become a witch hunt. Everyone has committed sins, but all sins are not the same. Leveling the blame is good for some slippery customers because it creates confusion and propagates the erroneous impression that all politicians are the same. It is fascinating to see how the public’s wrath has become so firmly fixed on politicians. Without a doubt, they bear a huge responsibility for the current state of affairs because they have been elected to serve. On the other hand, an MP effectively enjoys less power and is less responsible for the overall state of decline in Greece than, for example, certain television stations. They may have no institutional authority, but they have often played a crucial role in games of power and entanglement. They have also had an overt ideological influence by helping to shape mentalities. The biggest culprits, meanwhile, in the corruption triangle, the money barons, are not mentioned at all. Having put certain politicians on their payrolls and made dependents of many media outlets, they helped themselves to a good chunk of what has become public debt.