Is Politics Serving Us Today, And If Not What Needs To Change?
Corporate selection and support of political leadership means the ability to independently manage society and its needs becomes flawed, because political purpose is dramatically narrowed by corporate dictate. If the quality of political leadership is in any way compromised by sponsorship commitments, then society treads a dangerous path and so does the corporate sector.
This can be demonstrated by the American political attitude of denial about global warming, announced by George W Bush when first elected. This stance flew in the face of perceived wisdom by the international scientific community, and international acknowledgment of the problem through the Kyoto Protocol, currently supported by 169 countries.
There has been a sea change in this negative stance in the ensuing years but during this period, when power has flown in the face of public and personal reason, credibility in the character and corporately influenced political stance of President Bush has collapsed.
Political leaders, by their very nature are robust individuals with a sense of direction and purpose, of which our own Winston Churchill was a perfect example in his role as “The British Bulldog”.
Whilst he was by no means naive in the political process, I find it difficult to accept that he might compromise his beliefs or endanger his country, to accommodate the overly stringent needs of those who helped him into office.
What is of greater significance to me however is that this great man demonstrated a love of his country and its people. He was proud of them and it showed in his speeches and actions. I struggle to find any politician today who exudes these fundamental sentiments, other than as platitudes.
A love of our fellow man (and woman) is an essential requirement for meaningful entry into politics I would suggest, and its current lack in many senior politicians around the world must contribute to a growing public cynicism. We have an inbuilt sense of when care is at work and when it is not, and we automatically react accordingly with a level of trust commensurate with the amount of care exuded.
And here you have universal balance at work. Anyone entering politics with a love of their fellow inhabitants cannot be influenced by interest groups of whatever persuasion, to compromise that care. Whilst, as in the case of George W Bush there is a honeymoon period before reaction occurs, the end result is a balancing of power.
History shows that corporate interests have operated throughout time with wars being declared in the interests of trade. However we can no longer afford the luxury of allowing natural balance to play its part in remedying matters. The planet has never before been in such poor shape ecologically, primarily through our collective trading activities, and new ground rules are necessary.
To do this we have to challenge and change our beliefs. Traditional values that got us into our present precarious position are, by their very nature incapable of getting us out of it.
At the nub of this need to change lies a paradox. It is not in the long term interests for anyone to continue contributing to the problems of global warming and yet how can multinational corporations hold back with such increasingly intense levels of competition in the new global marketplace and economy. It’s a “Catch 22” situation of elephantine proportions and desperately needs unbiased attention applied before we find ourselves living, or trying to live, on a global Jacuzzi!
Maybe it’s time to call a truce in the global competition for profits and growth whilst we repair the damage we have already done, and see where we go from there. Naïve? – I don’t think so. The might and power of even the biggest multinational corporation pales into insignificance when lined up against the power of nature, as evidenced by the Indonesian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina – and these disasters are getting worse not better!
If the medium of politics is the means by which we collectively resolve the problem then it has to get its own house in order first, by better regulating itself and the corporate sector – which serious thinking businessmen know is running out of control.
The electorate also have their part to play which, along with leadership that is able to show a caring commitment in recognising the common good, can dramatically improve our ability to carry the day. Certainly we need mature leadership now as we have never needed it before – and leadership that is able to recognise the need to review and change outdated beliefs for our future survival.
Copyright 2008 – John Coombes
Over the last 20 years he has embarked upon a sabbatical which has resulted in him now coming to view life and its workings from a new, totally different and more meaningful perspective. In his manuscript “What if WE are God”, of which this article is an extract, there are amusing as well as very poignant stories that provide the backdrop to a deeply penetrating observation on the human condition, and how we seem to continually hold ourselves back from realizing our true potential as a species in this thing called life.