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!