Op-ed: 'Who the Georgian opposition fails to address'
The Georgian opposition only addresses a selected part of the society.
Former MP and opposition leader Elene Khostaria recently put it well: “I think that the main issue with the opposition is that it has not yet earned the complete trust of the Georgian population… Citizens should feel that our coming to power will change their lives.”
This indeed is the case. The rhetoric and agenda of the Georgian opposition parties are aimed solely at one narrow segment of the electorate: people who go to work every day, have some kind of education, and are concerned about the current state of democracy as well as Georgia’s Western and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
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But there is another segment that is often overlooked; those who live off the income of their wives or mothers who work abroad, who instead of work go to the sweepstakes, the pawnshop and church, where not only do they listen to the priests – they believe them.
Why should such people worry about the justice system in the country or whether there will there be freedom of speech? Regardless of whether Georgia ends up joining NATO – how will this affect their lives?
Even the exchange rate of the national currency does not bother them that much because they simply do not have their own income.
Instead, they are worried about the inflow of Turks and Iranians into Georgia, the fact that some forces “are fighting against Orthodoxy”, and that “these LGBT people are completely out of control”.
Such a person either does not vote, or votes for the Georgian Dream because it is “a familiar evil”, or for the pro-Russian conservative Alliance of Patriots.
It is difficult to address those people, and I personally have no idea how one should go about it.
But in order to succeed, the opposition must work [to win the attention] of such people. Instead of fighting each other for one small ‘island’ of the country’s electorate, when a large ‘dark sea’ is splashing around them.
Such people should also understand that when the Georgian Dream is no longer in power, their lives will improve. They should realize that Georgia’s Western future is the best option for them, that a country without corruption, nepotism, and sycophancy will be much better both for their pockets and for the future of their children.
But how to achieve this, I do not know.