Where are they lead­ing us?

Kathimerini English - - NEWS - BY ALEXIS PA­PACHELAS

There is a pre­vail­ing sense that as pub­lic opin­ion and our in­ter­na­tional len­ders con­tinue to ex­pect con­sen­sus and ma­tu­rity from Greece, the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal lead­ers are head­ing in the com­pletely op­po­site direc­tion. New De­fense Min­is­ter Panos Begli­tis has sud­denly “dis­cov­ered” con­ser­va­tive New Democ­racy cur­rents within the armed forces and is stir­ring up a line of think­ing that the coun­try put be­hind it years ago, with much ef­fort and at great cost. New Democ­racy’s spokesman, Yian­nis Michelakis mean­while, is again in­ter­ject­ing in TV dis­cus­sions, re­peat­ing the phrase “Shame on you” as though this con­sti­tutes po­lit­i­cal rhetoric in any way. One cyn­i­cal but ex­pe­ri­enced friend gave his cat­a­strophic ex­pla­na­tion: Pub­lic opin­ion polls sug­gest that come the next elec­tions, the two big po­lit­i­cal par­ties will be voted for only by the hard core of their sup­port­ers. On a prac­ti­cal level this means that their lead­ers now want to rally the fa­nat­ics by us­ing meth­ods of ex­treme po­lar­iza­tion. But we need to ask our­selves whether this is what the coun­try needs at the present junc­ture. Pub­lic opin­ion is watch­ing with great concern, even fear, at the degra­da­tion of po­lit­i­cal rheto- ric and at the com­plete in­abil­ity of the coun­try’s main po­lit­i­cal play­ers to find any com­mon ground what­so­ever. No one cares about who said what and who’s to blame for the fact that con­sen­sus be­tween rul­ing PASOK and New Democ­racy has not been achieved. The dam­age the sit­u­a­tion be­tween them is caus­ing is what in­ter­ests peo­ple, and es­pe­cially the fact that this be­hav­ior is mak­ing the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem look in­ad­e­quate and com­pletely im­ma­ture. As if all that weren’t enough, the guard dogs of the party camps have joined the fray and are ready to nip at the heels of any­one who dares to stray from the ex­treme hard core. All of this is get­ting us nowhere, how­ever. In Greece of 2011 there is a sig­nif­i­cant part of the mid­dle class that is color-blind when it comes to pol­i­tics. It is also deal­ing with the cri­sis in a cool­headed man­ner and is very well aware of how close Greece is to fall­ing into the abyss. There was a time when this vi­tal and in­formed sec­tion of so­ci­ety was able to de­ter­mine the course of de­vel­op­ments; now this sec­tor is des­per­ate and won­der­ing where we think we’re go­ing with this kind of attitude.

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