Is it a sad or a joyful thing that I can fit all I know about politics into an 800-word article? I have read hundreds of books and heard a billion words yet I doubt if I could list the relative practical merits and shortcomings of democracy, autocracy, theocracy, oligarchy, monarchy, plutocracy, or anarchy. I fail to adequately comprehend the differences between socialism, capitalism, fascism, and communism. Maybe all these modern isms are rubbish and we should have championed feudalism or pluralism.
There are some that I think we might discount – like despotism, militarism and totalitarianism – but that still leaves a few. Federalism is an option that has not been offered in my lifetime but sounds a bit too much like concrete buildings for my taste. Constitutionalism has a nice ring to it though, doesn’t it? I have no idea what it is but it has a good, long, solid name and I’d vote for it on that basis alone. There are many systems to choose from but history and common sense show that the system is of less importance than the people in it.
I have been fortunate in my education and I have tried to pay attention. After all, politics affects all our lives, yet I still struggle to make head or tail of it all. Why, for instance, do the majority of politicians constantly lie to us? Why do they try and convince us that they have answers to the incredibly complex problems that bedevil the world? Anyone who thinks they have all the answers obviously doesn’t understand the questions. Why do they think that passing more and more laws will improve things when this has never worked before? I’d vote for the first candidate who admitted not having any answers but promised to try and run a more efficient and helpful public service.
What is politics but people interacting; the bluff and bully of the poker game of power. There are people of great moral integrity, humble and honest. There are others unscrupulous, greedy, who lust for power and control. For some reason politics tends to attract a disproportionate number of the later description. Those of the former group who become involved in politics often, given time, become members of the later. ‘Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ said someone who was, I believe, a politician in the process of being corrupted at the time. Examples of this are everywhere. Sadly instances of bad people entering politics and becoming good are so vary rare that I defy anyone to cite an example.
He who talks loudest and longest usually tells the most lies and I reckon the reason there was not a single assassination attempt on President George W Bush was that he did so much to further his enemy’s cause. I’d never heard of al-Qaeda until he started blaming them for everything. After hearing only a few of his speeches I wanted to support the other guy, regardless of who the other guy was. He was undoubtedly al-Qaeda’s best recruiting agent. He said a lot but I could make no sense of it. I still do not know what he means by a ‘war on terror’ or ‘freedom and democracy’. From what little I’ve seen on the telly we don’t need any of that stuff here.
On the other hand Osama bin Laden said very little but despite the language barrier his translated messages were easily understood. In his last interview with eminent journalist Robert Fisk he said that it was his prayer that America be brought to her knees. Bin Laden lived long enough to see his prayer answered. Ten years after Osama Bin Laden was named Americas ‘terrorist’ enemy number one, America, through war and greed, is on its knees financially.
On May 2, 2011 bin Laden, an old man, was assassinated along with members of his family at his home in Islamabad. Obviously the war on terror, unlike other wars, is not subject to the Geneva Conventions.
Whether you view bin Laden as an evil terrorist or a freedom fighter he certainly made an impact. America rejoiced in his assassination but has anything been won; is the world now a safer, more peaceful place? Now that America has won its war on terror can anybody tell me when the freedom and democracy begins?
Although I freely admit knowing little about politics, what I do know is when those in power lie to the people they are paid to serve: When laws are passed to further private or corporate agendas rather than the cause of fairness and justice for all, when law sanctions evil deeds and punishes honest endeavour. Those responsible must be removed from power as quickly as possible. History repeatedly testifies what will be the result of this behaviour going unchecked and it is nothing good.