Today is a day I sense for feeling joyful. No, not because I’m packing up to depart Mykonos mid-week for New Orleans to participate in Bouchercon 2016’s Blood on the Bayou; no, not because I’m halfway finished with Kaldis #9—due out in 2017; no, not because Kaldis #8 (Santorini Caesars) comes out September 6th and is getting terrific reviews (“International-crime fans need to be reading this consistently strong series.” —Booklist); and, no, not even because I’m so deeply honored to be part of the just released, game changing SUNSHINE NOIR anthology edited by our own Annamaria Alfieri and Michael Stanley.)
What has me up in the clouds is that finally I met someone involved with addressing the Greek financial crisis that actually gets it. Whether or not the politicians with the power to bring about change listen to my source, understand what’s said, and act on it is another story.
This is not a slam on Greece, because my luncheon companion’s analysis of how Greece got into the situation it now finds itself applies in equal measure to the UK ending up in Brexit mode, and the US facing November 8th.
So here, folks, is a four-step analysis from a hands-on practical straight-talker…as related by me from my perch of joy.
1. The economies involved have edged forward extremely slowly from the crises that struck them nearly a decade ago. That alone is enough to cause unease in an electorate.
2. True or not, the perception in those nations is that the one-percent at the economic top is doing terrifically at the expense of the other ninety-nine. That sort of thinking contributed to the French National holiday of Bastille Day.
3. Voters believe their elected officials are indebted to special interests, cannot work together, and have lost touch with what the people expect of them. Another nail in the social compact coffin.
4. Pensioners are facing a declining standard of living, either because of cuts to their pensions or increased costs for their necessities, and beyond that they see their children and grandchildren falling farther and further into financial disparity and despair.
A confluence of all four negatives—running from macro to family dinner table economics— can spawn revolution in many cultures, but Greece, the UK, and the US are not the sort to take to the streets. Rather, their first resort is to the ballot box. So, if you’re a voter holding the short end of the stick on these four points, what are you going to do about it when your government asks for your vote?
I shall put the answer in my own words...as translated from the original sophisticated style of my luncheon companion.
ANSWER: Shove that stick as far up the [you know where] of the system as you can get it, or—to put more delicately (for Caro’s gentle ears)—vote for the craziest wildcard alternative out there promising to shake up a system that no longer has any meaning for you.
After all, what more do the disenchanted and ignored feel they have to lose?
Obviously a lot, but that’s not how the voter sees it, and if politicians persist in missing or dismissing what’s driving their citizenry to the edge, all I can say to the world is, BEND OVER.
As for that joy I alluded to earlier on, somehow it’s managed to morph into the sort of uneasy high one gets leaning out over the edge of a very tall skyscraper. Or tower.