WE GET THE LEADERS WE DESERVE
February 2, 2011 17 Comments
French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) said “In democracy we get the government we deserve”
We must have all been very bad over the last decades or so if we really do deserve the leaders that we have ended up with, and the ones positioning to control our futures.
I do understand that in theory governments that are democratically elected are done so by the electorate, so generally we get whomever the majority wants, and therefore it is our fault if we end up with poor leadership. But it is hard to just blame the electorate, as it is the political parties who decide who will be on our list of choices, and the small list that we have had to choose from has hardly been impressive. The question is that if these are the best that exist in their parties, how good are the lesser party members that are selecting them and putting them on a short list for us to choose from?
In France, Nicolas Sarkozy looked like a reasonable candidate from the UMP (Centre Right) for the Presidency in 2007 when lined up against Segolene Royale (Socialists) and Jean Marie Le Pen (National Front). Apart from courting and marrying Carla Bruni his achievements have been minimal. The raising of the retirement age from 60 to 62 was actually a typical move of cowardice, as most advisers had recommended moving directly to 65, which most of the developed world had already done. The French electorate had believed that he would usher in an era of change bringing France back into a position of importance in a changing world. The reality is that he has changed little and in doing little has alienated even his supporters, thus dropping his approval rating from 53% to win the last election to about 30% currently, meaning that he has almost no chance of re-election in 2012, making Royale a sure bet for the Presidency. Marine Le Pen the new leader of the National Front looks poised to take enough votes away from the UMP to make the possibility of Sarkozy being eliminated in the first pass a reality.
France is not alone in questionable leadership.
Australia has Julia Gillard (the “Prime Sheila”), who makes Australians look and sound like a bunch of yokels and who recently confessed that “matters foreign” are not really her thing, and the US is facing the real possibility that Sarah Palin (who thinks Africa is a country) will be the Republican Party candidate for the Presidency in 2012. Silvio Berlusconi in Italy seems to be spending more time with young “pretties” than with his cabinet (obviously touting for the youth vote), and Belgium hasn’t managed to put together a stable government in over 2 years.
Add the real “crazies” to this list like Muammar al-Gaddafi who said “There is no state with a democracy except Libya on the whole planet”, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “A powerful Iran is the best friend of neighbouring states, and the best guarantor of regional security”, Kim Jong-Il of North Korea who asked “Why are hundreds of thousands of people dying in off-limit areas?”, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe “The only white man you can trust is a dead white man”, and Jacob Zuma of Sth Africa “I took a shower to cut the risk of contracting HIV”, and you start to understand the fact that we are leaving the running of our planet to a relatively small number of blunderers or butchers.
How many mirrors did we have to break, black cats did we have to pass, and ladders did we have to walk under to deserve this?
Even the 10 plagues of Egypt didn’t have the option of running for a second term.