I’ve had one of those powerful dreams last night. I woke up with a clear sentence in my mind:
We didn’t wish for them enough!
As in: we didn’t wish for the honest, capable and well-intended politicians hard enough so we didn’t get them.
I often find myself thinking that the system needs to be changed in such and such way. But the system, although imperfect, bloated and in need of a change indeed, is still good enough. Or at least it would be if proper people would occupy its positions.
But since they don’t come from another dimension (as George Carlin put it) the verb “get” is somewhat misleading. It implies passivity and mere reception which is not how this process works.
We didn’t wish for them enough, meaning we didn’t create enough mechanisms to filter the wrong people out. We weren’t paying attention, folks. But why didn’t we?
Well, mostly because we like this game too or at least we like the promise it holds. Each of us likes the prospect of rising to the top (and somehow snubbing the fact that by implication that means pushing someone else deeper down), each of us likes to cut corners from time to time and above all, each of us chooses conformism over struggle. We are failing the marshmallow experiment all the time.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we get such leadership. They are merely the winners of the game we all play.
We need to realise that at least in principle a fully developed democracy means there is no duality — us vs. them. It is just us. And some of us take positions of management so that the rest of us can do the other things (like writing, playing basketball, farming, installing electrical grids, etc). But it is still us.
Dualism is a sign of a society that leans into oligarchy or it is there already.
We need to let go of our games, understand we are all in the same boat and create checks and balances to select the right people for managing of the commons.
But first, we have to wish for them enough.