14 May, 2007

Politicians 2

Pressure. If your friends encourage you to go into national politics, you must say no. Only a person with the morals of a pig would say yes.” (Haitian sage’s advice)

We are looking at the two immediate causes of the corruption of our male politicians. They start off bright-eyed and full of promise. They mainly end up bought and sold. Or, while married, hustling complacent and willing outside women by the score.

What are the reasons for such impropriety that seem to bear down relentlessly on our politicians? What causes them all to bend in the end? The first is community pressure.

Look at the quandary he is in from his point of view. You have to go back each weekend to your poor and dependent constituents. Each one of them greets you with his or her hands held out. They desperately need your financial help. You need a lot of money to be a good representative.

Then, there is a continuous stream of supporters passing through your office all day long. They are all asking for help of one kind or another. It may be a job for their daughter, or a telephone call to the police sergeant to go easy on their son. Or, it may be to call a government department to demand they issue a licence to which they are not entitled. Your survival in office, and re-election next time, depend on your ability to meet these huge demands. Your need for cash becomes insatiable. You accept gifts from local businessmen and foreign investors. You convince yourself this is a social necessity. You justify and you rationalize.

That you leave office a wealthy man is but a small reward for the pressure you had to put up with, and the nastiness you have had to do, in the service of your community.

I have heard our politicians complaining about the numbers of people that visit them on their verandah forcing envelopes of money on them. They speak as if they condemn such conduct. But, I never hear them say they refused the money, or reported the attempted bribe to the police.

The truth is that they could do with the money for the reasons above. The fact that it is not just unethical, but a crime under our Criminal Code never crosses their mind. They seem honestly to believe they have done nothing wrong!


  1. "The universe would not be rich enough to buy the vote of an honest man." - Gregory I, the Great (Saint Gregory)

  2. Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.
    - George Washington

  3. Mitch... since you are open to such corrupt elements of persuasion; while having all the characteristics as a "male politician" - how can you assured us, the electorate, that you will not fall short to such impropriety? Your answer must not be that you are not a politician.

  4. Jesus himself couldn't prove such a thing. With politicians, as with prophets, annointed ones and those claiming to be sent by God, each of us must use our own best judgement about who and what to believe.

    And at the end, no matter who we pray to or who we love or who we vote for, there is always a leap of faith -- our belief in things not seen -- that those in whom we place our trust will honour our good will towards them.

  5. You are getting close to nerve ends. Some elected officials will one day soon look in the mirror and question their future. Several already are unable to handle current pressures, and with ethical challenges are sure to make unpredictable and illogical moves.

  6. Some comments for the poster who wrote “And at the end, no matter who we pray to or who we love or who we vote for, there is always a leap of faith -- our belief in things not seen -- that those in whom we place our trust will honour our good will towards them.” Anyone who has ever taken a “leap of faith” towards a politician has discovered that he was just fodder to be chewed and spat out. No one in his or her right mind would place trust in a politician’s word. To do so is to deny all of our history. No politician has ever honoured our good will towards him. His only imperative is to hold on to power, no matter the cost to his integrity or morals. It was always so, and will ever remain so.

  7. I am the "leap of faith" writer. I agree with most of what you say, and share your pessimism. So what do we do? Do we just say "All dem too wicked" and watch while we race St. Maarten to the bottom?

    In the entire history of British or other politics, has there never been an honourable man? I don't agree that all roads are certain to lead to total failure.

    Perhaps Mrs. Mitchell can keep him honest. That Mrs. Mitchell, she don't take no crap from nobody.


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