What is it about politicians and posturing and delay tactics especially in critical moments which require urgent action and decisiveness?
Greece is going through one of the most severe economic crises in its modern history and the EU and the IMF have been called in to support and help pull the country and its economy out of this meltdown.
It is true that because of the crisis reform measures of an unprecedented scale have been passed by the current government to help correct the wrongs of the past and modernize the structure of the Greek economy. Nobody likes change. As Machiavelli correctly wrote many centuries ago, people cannot easily part with privileges and goods accrued over time.
It is understandable, therefore, that workers will protest and society will feel deep insecurity and fear for the future, because after many months of cuts and taxation, economic growth has halted and new measures have already been announced as needed to help the country pull through. This is why the target of wrath is the Minister of the Economy and his team which has been unable to collect taxes and keeps re-taxing the same people strangling any grow prospects in the immediate future.
The Greek problem is not unique in Europe and this is why people all around the EU are gathering in town squares demanding to know how their governments will achieve the return to growth and prosperity, given the world economic recession and the fiscal problems faced by many nations around the world.
The Greeks have joined the European protests and so far it has been a peaceful but angry group of all ages and political affiliations joining the swelling ranks of disillusionment. The anger is directed toward politicians and it is becoming difficult for them to circulate without being harassed in public. Yogurts and sometime stones are hurled at them together with verbal insults. Politicians hate that. They hate angry constituents, they hate not being able to spin the story but in their own frustration the one thing that is not happening is that they demand and partake in the solution.
Anger will not wipe out the debt owed to other nations. Anger will not help rebuild the Greek economy and whether people like it or not, it is through politics that a new path will be chosen and followed or destruction will ensue.
The 300 who fought in Thermopylae knew they were going to die. They decided to take a stand and do what they thought right, what the deemed necessary. They weren’t indecisive and they didn’t debate ad nauseum before staying. They just took the plunge and hoped their sacrifice would be enough.
Politicians need to know that this is their Thermopylae. The are going down one way or another, so they may as well take action. Denial of reforms needed is not action. And it is reprehensible that the majority opposition which shares joint political responsibility for the economic situation in the modern Greek state is pretending as if the only solution is a renegotiation of the agreement with the troika overseeing the reforms in Greece. But the contract shows the path and the way is always discussed and renegotiated at every meeting. So this is just a tactical ploy on the part of New Democracy. It is sad that they cannot recognize that this is the time to work together with the government, not after an election which will only stall the process and complicate things for the economy and the people.
As a person who spent a decade in Parliament and in government I would like to tell my former colleagues that there is life after politics and political death is not physical death like the one that the Spartans and their allies faced in Thermopylae.
By waiting, the people on Syntagma square who have no solutions and no government experience will just grow angrier and this will be reflected in the ballot box. Anger will cause disarray and delays and will not secure the future of Greece in the 21st century.
It is time to sit at the table and compromise over a menu of solutions. Take the leap of faith and do the right thing. Spinning the story and crying out your patriotism will not make you a true patriot but just a has-been politician.