Pain and despair highlight the reality of Greece's travails
After reading this story in Reuters about the absolute despair of so many Greeks over their future, you can't help but feel for their predicament. And yet, one also wonders about the total disconnect between who they are blaming for this state of affairs and the reality that they refuse to confront; it's their own fault.
A harsh judgment? Not hardly. They demanded expanded government services and got them - including the 20% of Greek workers who went to work for government under a constitition that guaranteed them a job for life.
If people in a democracy are not going to take responsibility for their own actions in electing politicians who were too eager to please them and cater to the demands of interest groups rather than do what is necessary to secure the future, who else can they blame? Scapegoating the "rich," or even the government is out of line. The old saw "You get the government you deserve" in a democracy holds true.
And the Greek people, uncaring of their own future and the future of their children, are now paying the price:
"What can you do? Throw stones? Throw oranges? Even if you spat on the politicians all day long it would accomplish nothing," said Amalia Dougia, a 45-year-old single mother, resting wearily on a bench in downtown Athens, where she was waiting to see a lawyer to find a way out of debt.
She has been unemployed for two years since the economic crisis forced her to close down her shop selling household goods, leaving her with nothing but unpaid bills and a benefit check of 175 euros ($250) a month.
Two daughters are at university studying cosmetics and project management, but these days they have little hope of a job in those fields when they graduate. The best they can find now is temporary work in the summer, waiting tables or handing fliers to tourists.
"The oldest wants to leave the country, but where would I get the money to help her out? I've given up planning for the future. I just accept life as it comes," she said. "I've thought about suicide, but I have to look after my children."
A lesson for Americans too.