With the culture changing inauguration of Donald Trump on the literal horizon politics is very front of mind. The ultra-right in Australia is celebrating, one nation is absolutely ecstatic. Whilst politicians are completely self-serving they are not they only problem.
We elect the politicians who represent us. If you look at you elected official and that person is a racist, either your electorate is racist or the good people stayed at home.
Whilst the title may indicate that I am for a totalitarian governmental system I assure you this is not the case. I believe in democracy and am sure that it is the best and most effective ruling system. Look for an upcoming blog post on what I think is the future for democracy.
It can be said that it’s not perfect, the problem lies less with the system and more with its upholders. The public do not act in a democratic way, it appears that it is not in our nature. That being said I have not seen another system that functions as well but democracy has the most to lose.
The following three reasons presented themselves to me due to the current geopolitical climate. The instability has allowed personalities that in our better times we would shunned. There are many times in history that this has occurred and it generally doesn’t end well.
Those in wealthy countries are worried about rising debt, and lowering of their standards of living. (Everyone seems to be in debt, who are we in debt too?). We are worried about whether we’ll be able to afford the next iPad release. Yet we have people in poorer countries fighting against problems like starvation, while we continue to throw out tonnes of food everyday. Now I have more things to use to demonstrate my point but as I am writing this on an iPad I feel a bit disingenuous continuing.
There is a clear instability across the world that seems to be feeding fear and hate. This is coming through with the political candidates that are being nominated or elected. It is a trend the world over and whether we like it or not the country that everyone looks to for democracy is about to confirm a tyrant.
As promised here are the three reasons I believe politicians should stop listening to the voters for the voters own good:
1. Voters concerns are self-concerned.
This appears self-evident right? You worry about what concerns you most. This in itself is not the issue, we all have things that are important to us. These things that are important to us are often not the things we as a society should be focussing on. As an example here in Australia we have one topic parties, whose aim is to get into a political position to move their agenda. What this does is leave a gulf in all others areas that you are not championing. How do you govern for the best of society when your view is so narrow.
This gives me even greater concern when it comes to issues that have life and death consequences. The one that astounds me and makes we most ashamed of my country is how we handle immigrants, legal or illegal. We treat them and subject them to situations that grow out of fear. It is self guided because it concerns the fear of self. Often it is severely misguided, based on a feeling rather than fact. It is a complex situation I grant that but it is often used as motivation to engage certain elements of the public. A politician should advocate to keep its countries humanity over the self-guided urge to win votes.
If it is the voters advocating for action that is based on selfish desires or fear born out of ignorance, the politician should ignore these, counter them with fact and humanity. Be an example for those they serve, rather than jump into the mud of fear and coat themselves as thickly. We should be accepting and engaging of disparate views, but this is not without bounds. If your thoughts are based on discrimination then it’s society’s responsibility to stop this. It is the politician who should stand up against it.
2. There is a tendency for us to think short-term.
This is to focus on what we are missing now instead of what we could gain in the future. This short-term view is possible in times of prosperity but when we struggle a long-term view is needed. Politicians pander to the majority, they view their job as getting re-elected. Therefor they think term by term.
It is here that the general electorate through its inward focus needs to be curtailed. The politician should work for our best interest not theirs. How are we meant to be better as a society if there is no one directing us. If the politician only reacts to the polls, then do they not just pander to the lowest common denominator.
Here is a time that the politician needs to ignore their populism and act in our best interest. Ignoring the constant cries of we want to answer the actual cry of we need. It is not a simple premise because who would we rely on to know what we need. Wouldn’t they just lean to their self biased thoughts. The answer is yes, and the solution sits somewhere between evidence based decisioning and humanity. What is clear is that the mob mentality that is expressed through polls and pandering politicians is not the answer. We need to say we expect change and not attack when it is change we dislike.
3. The politicians we want are not the ones we need.
The recent rise of extreme politicians both left and right has been explained as: traditional politicians not listening to the voters. Now this view I do not dismiss entirely. The thought though did prompt this article because this is my belief. If Pauline Hanson in Australia, Donald Trump of the USA and many other poor examples for politicians are what the voter want, I am glad that politicians have been ignoring them up until this point.
These politicians in their own particular way each demonstrate the worst of us as people. Wether it be an inhumanity in the treatment of others, using fear to motivate or misinformation to further personal goals. These people are not the people we need, they may be the ones those who support them deserve but the cost to society is greater.
The hate that is expelled by these people has an effect on us. The fear that is fed to us poisons our society. They gain power and we give up our sense of our better selves. I applaud politicians if they have ignored the cries that support the Pauline Hanson or Donald Trumps of the world.
Democracy is fragile, it relies on our better selves for it to succeed. Unfortunately it is often fear that instructs out thoughts. With this democracy struggles, it allows for people to take more power than should be allowed. It allows for atrocities to happen welcomed by an adoring crowd.
All of us who live in a democratic country need to demand more of our politicians and each other. To stop fear for what it is, control. There are horrible events everyday, it feels as if the world has gone mad. Fear is not the answer, the answer is hope. It is countering that thought based on fear with an outstretched hand of welcome. Our treatment of others with in time be our treatment of ourselves. How would you like to be treated?