By Vasilis Kikilias

Those who of late have displayed an interest in foreign languages, whether English or Arabic, forget a fundamental lesson of our Greek tradition. ‘’A position of power reveals the man.’’

The works and days of those in power damage not only their own reputation, but rock to its foundation the operation of the state and the relationship between politicians and the citizenry.

The necessary condition for restoring relations between politicians and citizens, between those who hold power and those who ceded it, is that the former must respect and honour the mandate that they received from the latter.

Public servants, and politicians more specifically, in order to carry out their duties and serve the people, must protect Greek taxpayers’ money and perform their tasks effectively. Moreover, their lifestyle must honour the office that they hold. Unfortunately, these things remain merely an objective, and not the rule in, our era.

The dilemma of Hercules is known to us all. Does one follow the easy but bad road, or the difficult path of virtue?

The path of virtue is uphill and rough. It is tiring, and it does not offer immediate glory and recognition. Fortunately, however, the end of that road leads to tangible benefits for the public interest, and to the recognition of one’s efforts by citizens.

On the contrary, the bad road is downhill, comfortable, and ostensibly easy. It is strewn with middlemen, buddies, and people willing to serve in order to benefit.

As long as one surfs the waves of power, one feels invincible, to such a point as to end up feeling that ‘I am the law’, and that others exist to serve them. Anyone who resists or simply has a different view must be annihilated, either through the force of the state or slander.

But because everyone gets their comeuppance right here on earth, soon there comes a time that a heroic civil servant puts everyone in their place.

Those who were willing and useful disappear, and mouths open. The final punishment is public castigation and even popular ridicule.

Those who choose the first path face difficulties. Even if they do not fully succeed, they enjoy respect, and can sleep well at night. For the others, who are blinded by the glitter of power, all that is left is the darkness of public castigation.

One thing is certain. They can fool some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time. But they cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

We shall see.