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The Winter of Our Discontent

By on February 18, 2015
Dimitri C. Michalakis

Dimitri C. Michalakis

Is this truly the winter of our discontent?

Formal history seems to function in cycles—in America, the Democrats had the House and Senate and the White House and the public thinks they made a mess (or are tired of them) so now the Republicans get the House and Senate and maybe the White House and if they make a mess the cycle will come full circle and we’re back to the opposition. Meanwhile, in the real world, people cope with their everyday cares and concerns—mostly economic (the price of gas, the cost of food, do I still have a job? Can I afford to visit the doctor this month and pay for the prescriptions? Will my car start this morning or do I really need that battery and is it cheaper at Sears? What’s doing with the boiler and why is the needle on the thermostat stuck on zero?)

In Greece, in Greek fashion, the cycle goes from despair to euphoria and back again like grand opera–sometimes all in a single day—while meanwhile people try to go on with their lives, which to us here in America, coping with ice and snow and the numbing routine of living by the clock, seems a beautiful existence of sunny skies above and clear blue water below and great food throughout the day with great friends and a schedule dictated by life’s whimsies. Who wouldn’t want to live a life like that and no wonder people flock to the life in Greece as a veritable paradise. Of course, the reality is that people are suffering in Greece, suffering more than we can ever imagine, people who visit Greece see only the surface graces of the people and the country, while the political and economic climate roils beneath. We hope Greece can right itself again, as it has for eons, like a proverbial cork, and the truly vulnerable of the country, young and old and breadwinners, can get the help they need now.

A cousin of mine came to America recently to visit for the very first time. He was in the military in Greece, had a very high rank, but had been pensioned because of budget cuts. He’s still a young man, overqualified for many things and “with a particular set of skills”—but his future is as uncertain as the political and economic climate in Greece. For the moment, though, in America he found a wonderland—as we find Greece when we visit—he did a lot of shopping for goods you can’t find back home at these prices—and he got to romp in the snow during our blizzard in the East. He was most impressed, he said, with Washington, DC—the grandeur of the buildings, the majesty of the monuments, the tribute Arlington Cemetery paid to its soldiers—those very same soldiers who are left to the vagaries of the VA Administration.

Is this particular winter the winter of our discontent? No, perhaps it’s life as usual with a measure of salt sprinkled in as the ancient Greeks taught us.

Looking forward to the Spring and the summer in a new Greece.

About Dimitri C. Michalakis

Dimitri C. Michalakis is Editor in Chief on NEO Magazine.