As I was running yesterday to make an appointment in Athens, I came upon a retired friend of mine.
What could I do – I had to stop. Right away our discussion turned, where else, to the upcoming elections.
“One minute,” I told him. “Let’s provide some order to this conversation. We have to prioritize the problems faced by the country. What do you think are the three worst problems?”
He took the lead:
“I will answer you honestly,” he said.
“Yes,” I replied. “I want you to answer me honestly.”
“Good. First of all,” he says, “there is no state.”
“That is quite a statement,” I tell him. “Explain what you mean.”
“You know what I mean. Why are you asking me?”
“I want to hear your opinion,” I answer.
“OK, so listen. I am not a racist, but the immigrants have ruined the country. They rob us in our homes. Do not listen to what the officials tell us. Crime is out of control. They take away the few jobs that exist and do not pay taxes or pay into the social security system.”
“The second biggest problem is the pension system. Tsipras comes along and teases us with a 300 euro gift so we will vote for him. I used to get 1,600 euros a month and now I only get 1,050. I do not want a gift. I want to them to give me what I used to get. What am I, a beggar? Have I no dignity? Shame on them.”
“And, thirdly, what kind of a state plays such games with men like Koufontinas, an assassin. Let him go out again and kill a few more people to calm everyone down. Do such things happen in America?”
So I say to him, “from what you tell me, you will vote for Kyriakos.”
“I will not tell you,” he answered me. “I will not say who I will vote for, but I will tell you this: What the outside world does not understand is that many of us have been leftists all our lives. We will not change. To change, our eyes must see much more than we have seen. So we will not vote ‘for’ the others. We would vote against our own, our supposed leftists, who mock us, but until we do that, come up with many excuses to vote for them again. But the evil has been done. I tell you they have wrecked the state. Whoever comes to power, what will he do? The country can’t be saved.”
“But you, too, are not doing any better with this Trump you have. But even if he is dangerous, however, you have institutions that can withstand it, while we…”
“I have to run,” I told him. “I’m already late.”
“It’s OK,” he responded, “everyone is late for appointments in Athens. Don’t worry about it.”
“You think so?” I replied.
“Listen to what I tell you…”