Banish the Chaos -- At Least for a Little While
In Greece, members of parliament come from dozens of political parties, varying on the spectrum from neo-fascists with logos eerily evocative of swastikas to Putin-sympathetic communists.
You might call it chaotic, with some seats occupied by fringe extremists and parties forced to align with those with whom they share only a loose approximation of agreement.
It has always been thus in Greece, though, where political chaos is a hallmark.
After all, it was the Classical Greeks who created ostracism, an annual vote taken on whether to banish a person from the city for 10 years. Ostracism could be dispensed for any reason -- even pure spite.
In one anecdote from Plutarch, a man says he wishes to ostracize Aristides the Just simply because he's sick of hearing him lauded.
Now, Donald Trump is no one's idea of just, but I'm finding myself longing for the chaos of ostracism lately, with the former president announcing he's going to run again in 2024.
I don't know if I can take another two years of mean-spirited pageantry and the further destruction of what remains of our national dignity. I don't know if I can take another assault on a free and fair election, one in which it is certain that Trump will declare victory, no matter the results.
I suppose it's not even so much Trump's running but his inescapable presence that bothers me.
Yes, it's disturbing that so many of my fellow countrymen live in the kind of cruel world Trump embodies, one in which ethics are for suckers, the weak are fodder for mockery and women are mere hunks of meat awaiting consumption.
But Trump's appeal reminds me of a poem by Greek poet Yannis Ritsos, "Smoked Earthen Pot," in which he corresponds with a fellow poet: