Consider this: a politician wins power on the back of a litany of lies, and phoney promises. He – such politicians are still invariably male – is a crook, whose interest is himself, not the electorate. He treats public office as a business, not as a position of service.
Equally reprehensible is his promotion of a similarly mendacious clique of confederates. He can be completely ruthless with those who have shown him loyalty, whilst rewarding those who had opposed him. Powered by a massive ego, he is not, in fact, very able. The mundane task of delivering for those in need is of little concern to him; his objective is to enrich himself and his cronies whilst mouthing platitudes to the people.
He is, however, far from stupid. He recognises that in the modern world, a lie is half way around the world before the truth has got its boots on. He holds a weak media in contempt, favouring those who pout to his posterior, whilst levelling outrageous abuse at any who dare take him to task. Bully that he is, transparency and accountability do not register in his political lexicon.
Do you recognise this template of so-called leadership? Is this the current role-model around which ambitious acolytes might coalesce? For sure, there have always such excrescences on the body politic, whilst there have also been many selfless servants of the people in leadership roles.The difference today is that the loud-mouthed and bigoted demagogue is so blatant, and appears to be so acceptable to so many of a like mind.
What ought to be different for those who consider themselves progressive, are the core values rooted in a commitment to social justice which are indispensable in a liberal democracy. The democratic socialist seeks to be honest with people, transparent in his political activities and dealings, and happy to be accountable to his peers and to the electorate. His cause is their well-being, not that of those who seek to exploit them.
It is very easy when holding a public position to be oblivious to the priorities of those who lend their votes. The distractions in office are many and often subtle, even to those who are demonstrably committed to their public duties. The temptations of office, too, can delude the office holder into mistaking worthless form for the substance which matters.
Still, the electorate has an uncanny knack of fingering those who have been dishonest with them, along with those whose inflated egos have dictated political priorities other than those held by the people. Those same electors can be very unforgiving if they perceive their elected representatives as self-seeking phonies, invariably punishing them at the ballot box. It is why there may well be some surprise settling of scores in elections to come.