Saturday, February 9, 2019

America, Check Out Yourself in Greece's Mirror


I was reading through the Greek newspapers this week looking for a story to write about for today’s blog, when I came across an article that reinforced my long-held belief that if you want to know what’s going on in US politics, read the Greek papers—and vice-versa—just remember to change the names to compromise the innocent. 

Assuming, if we may, that most Americans would agree the Democratic Party leans to the left and the Republicans to the right, what we have at the moment are two nations—Greece and the US—offering mirror images of the other’s dominating political parties.
Think of it this way. If you stare at yourself in a mirror full-on face forward, your right side reflects back as your left, and your left side as your right.  Got it?

That’s precisely what we have going on in the context of Greek and US politics. At the moment America’s (left leaning) Democratic Party shares the position of Greece’s (right leaning) New Democracy, what with neither controlling their nation’s executive branch of government.
It is leftist SYRIZA and its party leader, Alexis Tsipras, that’s in power in Greece, and Republican President Trump in the US.

AP photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
The article, titled “New Democracy is not SYRIZA,” appeared in Ekathimerini, Greece’s newspaper of record, and in discussing what Greece faces, raised mirror-like similarities to the state of political affairs in the US.  Here are many of those observations, editorially modified by me for clarity…or so I hope.

Greece’s conservative New Democracy [and the US’s Democratic Party] is a middle-class party with a long tradition, unlikely to transform into a purely leader-focused party like SYRIZA. SYRIZA, on the other hand, is Alexis Tsipras – nothing more, nothing less [SYRIA came into being essentially to elect Tsipras, much as Trump’s base came together to wrest control of the Republican Party.]

If Tsipras decided tomorrow morning to change jobs or pursue a fresh career in Brussels, his leftist SYRIZA party would most probably return to its small-party roots of yesteryear [as would likely Trump’s base without him.]

SYRIZA [and the Republicans] has a tactical advantage vis-a-vis its main opposition. No one in its party is pushing things to the limit and there is no such thing as party barons among the leftists [or US conservatives]. Even those who may sometimes criticize certain policies make sure they do not cross any red lines, not even pink ones for that matter.

Furthermore, being a relatively young party gives SYRIZA an extra advantage. Old party disputes and rivalries are not imprinted on its DNA. What happened 20 or 30 years ago interests no one and plays no role whatsoever [Trump, as the originator of his movement, shares that benefit.]

As we draw closer to the general election, the center-right party [in the US, the left leaning Democrats] should pay attention to the advantages of its leftist [in the US, conservative Republican] rival – whose officials spend much of their days conjuring up ways of sowing division in other parties.

A New Democracy veteran was saying the other day that his fellow conservatives are a “party of moaners.” [In our mirror world, read that as a Democrat going on about liberals]. 

In the run-up to the crucial next elections, there can be no room for long-running inner-party vendettas nor for those who want the stage for themselves. New Democracy [the US Democrats] will never resemble a church with only one person speaking. But it must not look like a gathering place where different people speak at the same time, creating a cacophony at the expense of a single, unified voice. 

As I said, if you want to know what’s going on in the US, pick up a Greek newspaper, take a look in the mirror, and repeat after me: “It’s all Greek to me.”


Jeff’s upcoming book events:

March 2, 4:00 PM
Tucson, AZ
TUCSON FESTIVAL OF BOOKS – Student Union, Tucson Room
Panelist “Masters of the Police Procedural,” with Tim Johnston and Peter Leonard, moderated by Anne Segal.

March 3, 10:00 AM
Tucson, AZ
TUCSON FESTIVAL OF BOOKS – Integrated Learning Center, Room 120
Panelist “CSI Publishers Row,” with Michael McGarrity and Martin Walker, moderated by Cara Black.

March 3, 1:00 PM
Tucson, AZ
Moderating “A Legal Thriller Conversation” with Phillip Margolin and Harriet Tyce

March 3, 2:15 PM
Tucson, AZ
Author Signing at CLUES UNLIMITED exhibition venue

March 29, 4:00 PM
Vancouver BC, Canada
LEFT COAST CRIME –Hyatt Regency Vancouver
Moderating “International Settings” with Alice K. Boatwright, G.M. Malliet, Sujata Massey, and S.J. Rozan

THE MYKONOS MOB book tour begins:

April 2, 7:00 PM
Seattle, WA
THIRD PLACE BOOKS (Lake Forest Park)
Author Speaking and Signing

April 6, 3:00 PM
San Francisco, CA
BOOK PASSAGE (Ferry Building-Embarcadero)
Author Speaking and Signing

April 7, 3:00 PM
Orange, CA
BOOK CARNIVAL              
Author Speaking and Signing

April 10, 7 PM
Pasadena, CA
VROMAN’S (East Colorado)
Author Speaking and Signing

April 12, 7 PM
Dallas, TX
Interabang (Preston Oaks)
Author Speaking and Signing

April 16, 7:00 PM
Scottsdale, AZ
Author Speaking and Signing

April 24, 6:30 PM
Houston, TX
Author Speaking and Signing

April 26, 7:00 PM
Denver, CO
Author Speaking and Signing

April 29, 7:00 PM
Pittsburgh, PA
Author Speaking and Signing

May 1, 6:30 PM
New York, NY
Author Speaking and Signing

May 2, 7:00 PM
Naperville, IL
Author Speaking and Signing

May 3, 7:00 PM
Chicago, IL (Forest Park)
Author Speaking and Signing

May 4, 2 PM
Milwaukee, WI
Author Speaking and Signing

May 9, 5:00 PM
CRIMEFEST—Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
Panelist on “Nobody Would Believe it if You Wrote it: Fake News, Post-Truth and Changing Words,” with Jørn Lier Horst, William Shaw, Laura Shepherd-Robinson, moderated by Paul E. Hardisty

May 10, 5:10 PM
CRIMEFEST—Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
Panelist on “Sunshine Noir,” with Paul Hardisty,  Barbara Nadel, Robert Wilson, moderated by Michael Stanley

October 31-November 3
BOUCHERCON 2019---Hyatt Regency Dallas
Panel Schedule Yet to be Announced

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