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Editorial

Strangers in Their Own Home

In the weekly ‘Magazine’ insert of our Greek edition we usually do not publish articles on current political issues. However, the events that took place at the Capitol on January 6, are not ordinary events. They are historical. It is from accounts of these events that the histories of countries are woven. And when this country is America, then we are talking about world history. It is one of those events that generations of students will read about in schools when learning about the history of their homeland. And how to avoid the same mistakes.

These days endless analyses are being written about what went so wrong. How America – the beacon of democracy, the example of the world, the refuge of the persecuted, the country of the Statue of Liberty – was in danger of losing all these precious characterizations. No one could have ever imagined that such a thing would happen in this country. No one – except those who took part in the invasion of the temple of freedom and the attacks on the representatives of the people as well as on democracy itself.

Who are these people? Why did they commit this evil act in and against their own country – the country they obviously love so much? They certainly did not see it that way. They did not see that they did harm to their country. They saw it as a necessary act to save their country. From what? That is the question. The answer is, from the threat of rapid and drastic changes taking place in their country. From threats to their way of life.

In the financial context, they are concerned about the future of their children, but also about their lost dignity. Some are likely unemployed. With debts – they are possibly still paying their college loans. They may not be able to put food on the table for their children.

They may be haunted by the fear of tomorrow or their fears for the country. And that is the point in the historical narrative, as our ancients saw it, when the ‘deus ex machina’ appears. In this case the deus ex machina appears in the form of the leader who expresses what his supporters feel and spotlights their conflict with the establishment, the political class and the mass media. The leader who loves them, and promises to bring about change. Change in their beloved homeland. Change in their lives. So long as they stick with him – always and faithfully – regardless of his mistakes and weaknesses.

It does not matter that what he tells them is one big lie or that this leader and his life are totally disconnected from theirs. More specifically, Trump inherited hundreds of millions from his father and lived a prodigal life. How can he understand them? How can he know how to help them? They do not see it. They do not see that he uses them for his own benefit. But to see it – once someone is in the grip of a demagogue – is hard, very hard.

And so the leader, the great and ruthless demagogue, the mastermind of the big lie, invites them to Washington. To save him. To keep him in power. To ensure his electoral victory, which was ‘stolen’ from him. He asks them to go to the Capitol. “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol together,” he told them. And this was another lie, but his wish is like an order for them. They did what he let them know he wanted. And now they will pay the price. But the country will also pay the biggest price. And it will pay even more if it does not find a way to embrace these people. The millions of Americans who feel like strangers in their own home.

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