Who wants to be a politician?

My dear Billy, 


Aren’t you sometimes amazed, even bewildered, by the people who are involved in active politics? As far as I’m concerned, l have nothing but admiration for them, up to a certain point.

Almost all of them join politics because they have a certain ideal; they believe they have a mission in life, a duty to work for the upliftment of the society in which they live.

The young ones are imbued with a desire to build a just society in which everybody will live happily. Those who land on the political arena rather late in life do so because they are under the illusion that they can redress the ills that they have witnessed during their lives and in their careers career. 

Both are soon disillusioned, my dear Billy. They don’t take long to discover that politics is organized hypocrisy. Politicians thrive on the very ills they set out to redress. Instead of fighting against corruption, communalism, injustice and other afflictions, they use these very elements in order to achieve their personal goals.

As somebody once said, “To be a chemist you must study chemistry; to be a lawyer or a doctor you must study law or medicine; but to be a politician you need only to study your own interests.”

For many people, politics is a short-cut to fame, success and wealth. These are either people of no principle but of great talent, or people of no talent but of one principle – that of sacrificing the general good for their own. These are the politicians who think much more about the security of their seats than about the security of their country.

There are politicians who believe that everything revolves around them, that they are the axis of society. Such people expect everybody to turn with them whenever they make a turn. And God knows how often they turn their coats. They are experts at burning what they have worshipped and worshipping whatever they have burned and starting the process all over again and again to suit their convenience and satisfy their needs of the day.

And they want people to follow them in their infected odysseys and tortuous turns and crooked political adventures.

However, politics need not be such an evil enterprise to be indulged in by people of principle and great moral values. According to Thomas Jefferson, the third President of America, “The care of human life and happiness is the first and only legitimate object of good government.”

That’s why it is an encouraging sign to see young and honest people joining politics. But unfortunately, they get corrupted sooner or later. Instead of cleaning the Augean stable, they get defiled themselves. The opposite current is too strong for them to resist. They soon get swayed and are carried away.

And this often happens because of the people themselves. Once in power, the politicians are solicited from all quarters by all sorts of people, lobbies and influences. They are subdued by unreasonable demands, they are blackmailed and they ultimately have to give in to threats and pressures. Then all their desire and zest to work for the common good is reduced to pleasing a tiny group of people, often through means that are not very catholic.

Such politicians are invariably surrounded by self-seeking sycophants, flatterers and hangers-on.  They have a band of parasites, leeches and lackeys attending upon them.

But once they are out of power, it’s like the end of the world. The very bootlickers and crawlers who inherited so much from their favours vanish like the morning dew in thin air. They hide their heads, not to be found, though sought.

Ask a fallen prince about his experience. It’s a most heart-rending, most pathetic story. I met a minister of a previous government the other day. He was broken, bitter, bruised. His tale was one of sadness and pity. People he had gone out of his way and circumvented the rules to help when he was in power, now shun him like the plague for fear of being seen in his company.

Well, that’s the lot of the politician, my dear Billy. I believe that once you decide to take the plunge in the political quagmire, you must also be prepared to be swamped by the bog.

However, no country can do without politicians because no country can do without a government. And government is the business of politicians. Isn’t it a pity that politics and government should be left in the hands of politicians, my dear Billy?



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