What on earth was he thinking?

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It’s hard to imagine how politicians think. Even today many of our compatriots must be wondering: “Didn’t they know that the country was going bankrupt? How on earth did they allow it to sink so far?” We will probably never know; just as we will never understand why the government of Dimitrios Gounaris became further embroiled in the war in Asia Minor when he had promised during his pre-election campaign to withdraw the troops and bring them back to Greece.

One wonders what was going on in New Democracy MP and party secretary Manolis Kefaloyiannis’s head this week when he voted against lifting the immunity from prosecution for Ilias Kasidiaris, the ultranationalist Golden Dawn deputy who faces charges of assault after slapping Liana Kanelli of the Greek Communist Party in the face on a live television show and throwing a glass of water at SYRIZA MP Rena Dourou. Kefaloyiannis justified his decision by saying that the Golden Dawn bully needed to be given the opportunity to apologize for his actions.

Even if we overlook the fact that should he be so inclined, Kasidiaris could also apologize from the courthouse, we must ask ourselves: Does this mean that every citizen can go around slapping people and then just apologize to make the assault charge go away? Or is this the prerogative of Golden Dawn alone? If the former is the case, then maybe the Velvento bank robbers – being investigated for ties to a terrorist group – should say they’re sorry, and then we can start moving things along faster in the bogged-down justice system. Robbers, rapists, murderers and all kinds of other criminals could just be allowed to sign a statement saying how sorry they are and the days of congested courthouses would be over.

To look at it in a different light, let’s just imagine that another 200 MPs had thought like Kefaloyiannis and Kasidiaris was allowed to walk away scot-free. What would then guarantee that Kasidiaris, who never gave slapping a woman on television a second thought, would ever consider that what he did was wrong?

The thing with Kefaloyiannis is that his excuses are 10 times worse than what he did. His incomprehensible reasoning does nothing to hide his political cowardice.

There is a Greek saying that integrity disappeared when the apology was invented. It is bad enough that many in the electorate put their trust in Kefaloyiannis by voting for him. Even worse is the fact that ND made him its secretary. How deeply Kefaloyiannis thought about what he did possibly explains on some level why Greece is bankrupt.

ekathimerini.com , Friday March 15, 2013