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Time To Do Your Duty
by Andy & Mike Manatos
Today we must heed the little-known Greek, Polybius, who was born 100 years after the Golden Age, when the Romans were dominant. He deduced the underlying element that made Democracy work. He said, “Rather than trying to eliminate human nature’s fundamental self-interest we should use it”. He realized that the primary reason democratically elected officials respond to the peoples’ concerns is because it is in those officials’ fundamental self-interests – securing or keeping her or his a prestigious position.
Each of us must help each candidate who wants to represent us understand that their fundamental self-interest rests with their continuing to support or beginning to support the issues that are dear to our hearts. For Greek Orthodox Hellenes that involves at the federal level: (1) religious freedom for our spiritual leader, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who is also the spiritual head of the second largest Christian Church in the world; and (2) helping defend our valiant allies who protect our interests in the Eastern Mediterranean — the only Western Democracies, other than Israel – Greece and Cyprus. These three countries Israel, Cyprus and Greece make up America’s Eastern Mediterranean Partnership.
Misguided American foreign aid provided Turkey over the years with $12 billion, in today’s dollars. The vast majority of it was spent on building its military to rank among the world leaders. And unfortunately, those arms have been used in ways that are harmful to America’s Eastern Mediterranean Partnership, particularly Cyprus and Greece.
As well, America is providing billions of dollars each year other countries in that crucial area that are important to America’s security like Israel and Egypt. And, it provides hundreds of millions to Jordan. Yet Cyprus gets essentially nothing, and funds talked about for Greece are comparable to US funds going to Peru, a country that can’t hold a candle to Greece and Cyprus’ importance to American security in the most dangerous region in the world.
It is all up to you. All Greek Orthodox Hellenes must realize and act on the following. First, if you don’t vote there is no reason, as Polybius would have told you, for your elected officials to consider what you would like her or him to do. You will not be pertinent to his or her fundamental self-interest.
And second, to the surprise of most your knowledge about our Ecumenical Patriarchate or about Greece or Cyprus is 10 times greater than that of the average US Senator or Member of the House. The unimaginable number of domestic and foreign issues they must deal with makes it impossible for them to know much at all about each issue. So, feel free to do your duty as one of the “rulers” of our democracy and explain what you know about these issues to any of your elected officials. They will appreciate it.
Once every two years it is time for you to do your duty in our democracy. Please be sure that you do.
Andy Manatos CEO of Manatos & Manatos. For over 85 years and three generations, the Manatos family has been working with top Senators, Members, Administration officials and thought leaders, both Republicans and Democrats, formulating US policy.