I for one am starting to get incredibly sick and tired of the amount of hero worship and what I would call “saviour mongering” around politicians vying for election. You see it everywhere. Comments on blogs, “analysts” on TV and in newspapers, people holding signs at rallies. Anywhere and everywhere you look, supporters of a particular politician are making him/her out to be the second coming. It is an incredibly sad state of affairs, and as history has shown, it will likely eventually end in heartache. Politicians aren’t saviours.
We saw it throughout history, whether it was monarchs or generals, Martin Luther or Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and even Hitler; their supporters treated all of these leaders as saviours. Politicians seeking election, especially, run on the “saviour” mantra, labelling the current system “horrific”, and pledging to rescue us along with it. But how often do they succeed?
Unlike prospective politicians, elected politicians have to work within the system. In most democracies, this entails working within a system of checks and balances. Checks and balances that are inevitably designed to stop fundamental altering of the government and country. If a politician is well meaning, truly loves democracy, and is therefore are unwillingly to work outside the rules, the checks and balances will eventually rob them of any opportunity to “save” the system. The system is left unsaved, and the politician departs in disgrace, fiercely blaming anyone and everyone else. He/she wasn’t a saviour.
Another scenario is a politician who does not respect the checks and balances and rules within which they are meant to function. Their desire to “save” their country moves them beyond legality. Hitler was a prime example of this. His desire to “save’ Germany from Versailles, the Jews and those he saw as “stabbing Germany in the back”, moved him beyond the realms of legality. Eventually his megalomania was left unrestrained, and we all know what happened. He went from saviour to mass murderer.
Granted there are scenarios and people who fit in between these two examples, Lee Kuan Yew comes to mind, but these two scenarios represent the overwhelming majority of what has happened. Historically when the “saviour” gets elected, they are either bogged down by the system or they begin to work outside the system. Either way, it does not end well. The system remains unchanged, the politician becomes disgraced, and life goes on. Politicians aren’t saviours. If you want a saviour, try religion.