Politics is a dirty word at the minute. It’s becoming clear that not only does absolute power corrupt absolutely, but men and women struggle to cope in any kind of limelight, or with any form of responsibility.
Take a look at the news in the last week. Details of a well-known Brownite plot to remove Tony Blair have emerged, showing the true depths that our bigot-loving ex-PM was apparently willing to go to get the job. “Weinergate” has rumbled on in the US, as US Congressman Anthony D. Weiner’s abuse of twitter at a time when his wife discovers she’s expecting their first child has led to the once potential White House candidate clinging onto his position. Then, on a more serious note, a Conservative MP is arrested on suspicion of a sexual assault, and Colonel Gadaffi is accused by the International Crimes Committee of ordering troops to rape rebel women, and even supplying them with a form of viagra to enable this. What on earth is going on in the world today?
The majority of mankind can’t seem to handle power it seems. Although there are those we revere in History for, regardless of your opinions, their handling of the job (Churchill, MLK, Mandela and Thatcher to name a few), there are many more of whom’s integrity is questioned. Even in the “beacons of democracy”, we’ve questioned Bush Jr, Blair and Brown without ceasing. Think about those around the world, particularly in the Middle East right now, think about those throughout History who abused their positions or crumbled under the weight of such responsibility.
It therefore becomes apparent that there is no such thing as a fair system of government, no means of separating personal flaws and political failings. These aren’t the same as the Archbishop’s criticism of David Cameron and his policies, these are matters to do with personality and personal lives. These aren’t the same as the trappings of the celebrity lifestyle, where at least, for now, a hair transplant doesn’t require a super-injunction. We shouldn’t be surprised. Humans fail- naturally. Power is corruptible. But yet, we should be angry- it isn’t right still.
When studying people from the past, should we judge them therefore on their policies and achievements, or their personal lives? It seems that, in recent times, the latter has taken preference over the former, but we don’t judge Churchill’s early speech impediment or his dubious friends in the late 1920s. Nor do we judge Albert Einstein’s work by the fact that he failed his university entrance exam, had an illegitimate child and that despite claiming to be a pacifist, encouraged Franklin D. Roosevelt that the US government should fund the building of the atom bomb!
Am I ranting here? Of course I am- those mentioned in the news last week have all done wrong whilst in positions of responsibility. But Anthony D. Weiner will be remembered for “Weinergate”, when he could have achieved so much more- had he lived years before his personal life would not have received such exposure, and he may well have had a very different legacy. And anyway, Twitter didn’t exist back then.
Oh, and Leicester City Council- sort it out will you! Get a plan in place for a potential Zombie invasion already!