"She introduced me to a cool, smiling, blonde girl," he said in a recent NEA article, "we talked for a while, we said we'd meet again, and we exchanged phone numbers. Monday, I was writing in "NEA", in "Mikropolitikos", that "PASOK also got its own "Elena Rapti", her name is Eva Kaili, and remember this name, you will hear it often from now on". She thanked him and asked him to help her get on TV, introducing herself as the new Elena Rapti.
The story told by Papachristou reflects how Eva Kaili was received on the political scene. There was no mention of her biography, political positions, the school of thought she represented, or what she represented in politics. But it was enough for PASOK to find its own Elena Rapti. "A cool, smiling blonde girl" whose name we would hear frequently from now on. And we'd only hear her name next to "beauty, youth, and coolness," because that's what her party chose to promote for her. That is also what the media has chosen. This clearly suited her as well.
This phenomenon is not unique to Greece. The fact that the image is so common in Cyprus as well is concerning. It would be wise to remember that having a pretty face should not be a political sin...
Her image and youth became her only shield of defense. Even when it was revealed that she had lied to the Greek people about her grandfather being killed by communists, i.e. when she should have accepted political responsibility for her fairy tale, the system shielded her. And, while many battles were fought to break down stereotypes so that a good image and youth in politics would not be viewed with suspicion, the exact opposite happened in the case of Kaili. And equally dangerous. Her image and youth were the ultimate justification for all of her political failures. Her political incompetence was her salvation.
It took her bizarre statements that largely justified the use of predator, her fervent statements about Adonis Georgiades, and especially her speech from the floor of the Parliament while laundering Qatar, to make it clear that something was wrong.
Kaili was the most visible victim of the phenomenon in which image replaces substance in politics. A massive phenomenon that has emerged in recent years. As society depoliticized as a result of the scandals, those who used social media to create their best promotional image and narrative floated.
But the parties opted to support TV actors, football players, and socialites rather than better policy proposals, increased transparency, people with sensitivities and ethical barriers, or a comprehensive political vision as the remedy for the apolitical society. from Pavlos Haikalis, whose political presence had a price, to Elias Psinakis. Additionally, there were those who never displayed the slightest interest in public life and wished to salvage as much of their glamour as possible.
Parties put starlets and braggarts on their ballots in an attempt to gain votes at any given time. However, when these candidates moved around too easily, exposed the party's inefficiency, and occasionally profited illegally from the process, the parties fled in protest and wrote the candidates off.
This phenomenon is not unique to Greece, of course. The fact that the image is so common in Cyprus as well is concerning. It would be wise to remember that having a pretty face should not be a political sin, just based on the story of the ousted Kaili. When someone is elected only to advance a lovely image, that is dangerous. Politics is not an image, a lifestyle, or something that the media likes. It involves picking people with leadership skills, a political vision, and most importantly, moral character.
Because a nice image may not be a moral barrier in and of itself. It can be heavily financed by a third country and irreparably harm its country's brand. At the same time, youth can represent whatever the political system has to offer in terms of the oldest thing in the world.