Political activism is a fundamental obligation for all citizens, especially for those who possess not only natural abilities and social solidarity skills, but also organisational and management skills, acquired through knowledge and experience during the course of their lives. Political activism based on ambition is not in itself reprehensible, as long as the political skills of a particular candidate exceed his or her ambition. History has shown that those nations, which elect politicians with high social solidarity skills, excellent organisational and managerial skills as well as ambition, have enjoyed peace and a high standard of living for a very long time.
The above thoughts are very relevant at present, now that legislation has enforced proportional representation in both the municipal and parliamentary elections. We have already witnessed an unusually high number of candidates in the municipal elections and a “flight” of current members of parliament from constituencies with few supporters of their political party. We have also seen misguided political events, tailored to the upcoming proportional representation elections. All of these activities show that in many cases, ambition surpasses the abilities, knowledge, organisational and managerial skills of candidates. It seems that many candidates, in addition to ambition, also have strong personal interest motives, financial and otherwise. These situations are a source of great concern for the election of a competent government for our country in the near future, first in the municipal sector and then in the state sector, since both municipal and state elections are both taking place in the year 2019.
In other countries, the activities described in the previous paragraph could be dismissed as random and occasional. In Greece, however, at a time when we are trying to exit from the ten-year long financial crisis of our country, caused mainly by financial irregularities on both the individual and state level, these activities are a cause for alarm, danger and great insecurity for the future. We see that many candidates for the next elections are currently following the same practices that have brought the public sector to bankruptcy. We need to search for the causes that have led us to the present situation, and to find ways to avoid catastrophic consequences that always follow the kind of activities described above.
A study of the history of different countries and geographical regions in the world proves that political ethics is the basis for individual nations’ success. The citizens of nations, which for a long time have been governed with strong political ethics, have been enjoying high prosperity and social wellbeing. Unfortunately, in our country, political ethics is not one of our strengths. On the contrary, we have seen elaborate schemes of disguising the personal and political motives of some candidates and the parties they belong to. These schemes, combined with the political immaturity of many members of the electorate, often bring to power populist leaders. Once a populist government is elected, the negative consequences of its governance are simply a matter of time. Post-election allowances given to certain groups which helped elect a particular candidate or political party, do not offer a permanent solution to the economic distress of these groups, nor contribute to balancing out financial irregularities among the citizens. On the contrary, they create resentment among those who are heavily taxed, and who in effect are paying for the allowances given to elected politicians’ favourite target groups.
In countries which have enjoyed for many years stable conditions of social and economic balance, citizens are politically mature enough to see through political and self-serving schemes, and therefore populist governments are a short-lived and easily reversed phenomenon. In countries like ours, particularly in the present precarious circumstances, choosing political candidates irresponsibly can be suicidal, because it changes Greece from a country with an uncertain future to a country with no future at all. This is why it is imperative that the most important criterion for electing a political candidate should be his or her political ethics. Only in this way the municipities, prefectures and the state will finally have an ethical and responsible government, which can then build a reasonable future for the generations to come.
In the present difficult circumstances, the Greek electorate has a moral obligation to look beyond personal interests, friendships and family relations. We need to vote for those candidates who have displayed social solidarity, effectiveness, but most importantly, political ethics in their personal and professional lives.