With recent elections in my homeland, New Zealand, and Japan, where I now live, and the mid-terms in the US I have found myself wondering ‘just who are our leaders?’. In the run up to polling day they are omnipresent; on TV, radio, the papers, billboards and, in Japan, a constant racket blasted from cheap speakers atop vans that circulate the streets in noisy, non-stop campaigning. But still, do I really know anything about them? I know what their policies may be, supposedly, but what are they actually like?
Ask almost anyone the question; ‘what do you think of our politicians?’ and you’ll hear words like; liars, fakes, greedy, power-hungry, self-serving, corrupt, ignorant, disconnected, stupid, or just plain assholes. The list above seems fit for the kind of people we most despise; criminals, tyrants, the evil kings of yesteryear. By description they seem to be the worst kind of people to be leading our nations, but if that’s what we think of them why are they our leaders?
In centuries gone, and even today in still existing tribal cultures, leaders were chosen for the good qualities they were seen to possess by those around them in daily life; kindness, compassion, intelligence, generosity, and perhaps above all, humility. No one campaigned or petitioned for the position, anyone who did would never have been considered. Leaders were asked by the people to act in the role of leadership. They were seen, first hand, to be the best person for the job.
And those leaders are still out their, they’re just not in politics. They are working in your local church, fund raising for food banks for the poor and needy, they are running volunteer programs to help at risk youth, they are delivering meals to the elderly, they are the non-paid fire fighters, the local cops who really do care and who still sit down with kids who are going off the rails for a firm but friendly chat instead of just throwing them in a cell and into the ‘justice’ system, they are those one or two teachers you remember from high school who taught from the heart and truly made a difference.
Why aren’t they our leaders? Perhaps it’s because the world of politics is dark and dirty, no place for the good and honest, and to get anywhere in that dark and dirty world you really do have to be an asshole.