Thursday, September 19, 2013

The despondency of a citizen

Question: what does a frustrated and desperate citizen do when he realizes, as a horrified onlooker at the developments in his country, that not one of the parliamentary or extra-parliamentary parties (or constructs) expresses him? What does he do when the democracy he believes in and wants to constructively engage in is broke? 

It has taken the murder of Pavlos Fissas by a member of Golden Dawn, Greece's brand of neo-Nazis, to shock society into action....a society that has been largely silent when the Nazis murder or rough up immigrants. Yet even this call for a higher calling that this ideology minimizes us and should have no place in mainstream politics or otherwise has brought us closer by awakening most to the danger of extremism but has polarized us further as other mainstream political and social actors seek to equate extremism on the right with extremism on the left. Roger Cohen correctly coins it when he writes that "[t]he perfect political storm for violent extremism has descended on Greece."

I really find myself in despair …the whole gamut of the polarizing public political discourse disgusts me – the right versus the left, the far left versus the far right, the fascists versus the anti-fascists, the classification of violence into justified and unjustified or, in other words, the tolerance towards violence expressed openly by many of my country’s elected representatives and their minions, etc….whether proudly condemning or remaining idle in an unnerving quiet, the contribution of all political parties in the condemnation of my country is undeniable….I who believes in parliamentary democracy and its values and wants to have the right to a political discourse, what do I do? I, who believes in the value of my right to vote and agonizes over my ballot every time I exercise my right, what do I do?

What do I do under the current circumstances when any hope for change is stifled because my very representatives represent the past and contribute to its polarizing present? I do not ask what I can do because I currently I feel helpless, a citizen condemned with no choice or ability or strength to contribute to the reversal of the country's fortunes. 

The prevalence of a culture of hate, division, and sedition has become mainstream in the Greek body politic over the last few years as the political system is undergoing a very real and moral collapse makes all efforts to overcome the debilitating impact of the crisis come to naught.

Greece is seriously ill, past intensive care, almost into some sort of twilight zone where its ailments are abundant, gangrenous, infectious, and their cure a product of manifold interpretations by experts and, unfortunately, the oblivious political pundits that govern it or want to govern it and impart it with their political sophisms.

Hence, for this citizen,  the despair, the desperation, the despondency, the agony, the pain, the helplessness, the void, and all their derivatives....I ask, "what do I do do?" because asking "what can I do?" seems beyond reach, at least my reach...What do I do to keep believing my beliefs and values? What do I to make it through the economic morass that taxes me and my family beyond our means? What do I do to keep believing that this is an ephemeral ugly period that will pass and then I can start believing somehow that I the citizen has a role in society and I can ask "what can I do?" With the prevailing political and social elite and the deep seated culture of polarization and hate that has impregnated society, the answer is not at all evident.

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