From Carter to Trump

Sunday, November 13, 2016

It was November of 1976, a Tuesday evening, when thousands of Athenians took to the streets, celebrating the anticipated by many electoral win of Jimmy Carter, the peanut farmer.

The candidate of the Democrats was more or less considered a god send who would resolve the crisis in Cyprus.

Credulous as they were, the people of Athens flooded the area around the Hilton. In the country's largest hotel the American Embassy had set up a huge Press Center, with massive television screens broadcasting the results of the presidential elections, as they arrived in Athens.

Comparatively, few homes in the capital had televisions, around which interested neighbors would gather, almost all waiting for Jimmy Carter to win.

The ground of the Hilton was full of thousands of sandwiches (hot dogs) and there were thousands of bottles of Coca Cola on the floor, offered by the Embassy.

Everyone celebrating very soon realized that Carter was not a philhellene, but rather pro-American. So within a few days the dreams and expectations were confounded. Soon after all sort of slogans could be heard in the streets once more, such as “Americans, murdered of the people”.

The legend goes that the Americans and our other allies will also put their interest first.

On occasion of the surprising agreement between the the two parties to resolve the television crisis, the saying of former Prime Minister K. Mitsotakis comes to mind: “In our age at lest, there are no permanent friends and permanent enemies”.


Stavros P. Psycharis
Originally published in the Sunday print edition