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To Whose Interests Are Leaders Catering---if Not Ours?
You May Call Us Proud Followers
How often do we think of our leaders as being servants to us, the people? Is that what we have in mind when we call a president "the most powerful man on earth"? For, once when we give that much power to someone, doesn't it make us his servants, not the other way around? So, whose interests are our leaders supposed to protect if we are serving them?
Those most cynical voices around would be the quickest to answer: the interests of their own careers, and the interests of those most influential ones who gave them the presidency with their support - coinciding with the richest ones. Would that mean something like the "rule of the nobility" all over again?
O.K., who is listening to the cynics anyway. No cynic ever got his statue erected in the downtown park for this very reason of never telling the truth. We are all devoted followers proud of our leaders. Period! We are, aren't we?
Otherwise, we wouldn't be willing to pick up a gun and go to kill a lot of unknown suckers in some hardly-known, far away country that hasn't fired a single shot on our land. We could only do it by fully trusting the honest intentions of our leader, right? Yeah, right, of course, sure thing...
A Tame Tail between Legs - or an Angry Barking at Moon
I spent my first twenty three years of life in a communist dictatorship regime before getting this sweet taste of democracy. After spending nearly half century in this heaven of freedoms, from time to time I may get amused by comparing these two regimes. So here is the result of it.
In both, communism and democracy the government is doing whatever they want, but one of the differences is that in communism you get locked up and they throw the key away if you say anything against them, whereas in democracy you enjoy this freedom to speak up. O.K., nothing much changes because you voiced your disagreements, but at least you get to stay a free dude.
Actually, here you are allowed to call your president an idiot, and no one cares. You try that in communism and you regret that you were born a bigger one than the leader whom you called that way. Then, in communism it's those "most deserving carriers of the revolution" that are calling the shots, and in democracy it's those "most influential carriers of money" that make decisions behind the throne.
Both regimens use impressive slogans emphasizing "freedom", "equal justice for everyone", "care for all citizens", plus a bunch of patriotic sentimentalities just to remind you what to live for and what to die for. Without those we would all drift around like lost puppies without a clue what might be the true purpose of our life.
Most folks seem to buy all that, because we must admit, we really are suckers for well worded slogans. Why not? After all, our leaders are like our extended parental figures, and simply trusting them is costing us less nerves than finding out all the reasons for not to.
Let Our Voices Be Heard!
Now, it was not fair of me to have mentioned only the freedom to criticize the government as an indication of democratic privileges. We are also granted the freedom to massively come out to the streets to protest.
The government psychologists whose job it is to monitor the mood of the masses are actually happy about these demonstrations, because the masses have to let all that accumulated steam out from time to time, before it would escalate into something more serious. The ancient Roman rulers used to call this strategy "Panem et Circenses", meaning - give them some "bread and games", and they will be peaceful.
O.K., we have advanced since those times, and our sports activities are giving us an ample opportunity to cheer and scream all we want to discharge that excess energy accumulated from seeing mother-in-law for dinner too many times. And as for that "bread" part, hey, it's a rich country, and we are talking hamburger and pastry.
Somebody before me must have noticed all the futility of that massive street socializing, so they went a little creative and upgraded it into something more useful - like looting, as to give a message to the government about their "just cause". Who wouldn't just love this democracy of ours!
Take a Quiz
All being nice between us and our leaders, we still shouldn't go as far as to fancy how we have any affect on the government business. It's all right, anyway we wouldn't know the first thing how to run country affairs. But why do I have a feeling that some of you think that your opinion matters. If you do, just take a simple quiz.
What was the last time you stopped a war from starting; you lifted all taxes from that symbolic income called "pension"; you cut those astronomic grants to space exploration; or dropped those grants for scientific study about the migration of certain birds and insects?
You think I am kidding? No, I am not, you just wouldn't believe where your tax dollar goes after it leaves your pocket - and it's good for your nerves that you don't. So, if the result of this quiz is "None of the above" - then you are exactly like me, and the two of us don't belong to those proud, flag-waving folks who believe they have a say in public affairs. You and I just get to be silent patriots.
Happy Campaigning Hopefuls!
At time of elections I really get amused with all that show of charming smiles on glowing faces of the candidates. Indeed, never before, and especially after the election is over do you see them smile so much, picking up little kids, kissing babies, and all that. No wonder everybody is bringing a camera for the occasion; and you don't even have to tell them to say "Cheeeeze!", as that smile never leaves their face anyway, like a tattoo.
Now, how blind do we have to be not to realize that for the vast majority of us it doesn't matter one bit who wins the election. Supporters cheer for their candidates short of falling on their religious knees in front of them - even though most of them probably couldn't tell five differences between their and opposition party.
Something like that I realized when I asked a hot-headed Christian about what made his denomination different from another one. For a moment he looked almost insulted by the question, and I expected a long tirade, but the dude just said: "Well, they are different than us".
So I stay clear of asking anymore. I realized that all these traditions are just that - traditions, and elections are not any different. People bitching, people cheering, people being people.
Why Not a Little Dream
Somewhere in a distant future maybe it will be possible to have a leader that would be supervised by some sort of a Supreme Court, and fired by them if he is not serving the interests of the majority - without a chance to be saved by "Government Union". And he would not be called an "institution", even less "the most powerful man on earth" - while not being even "the most powerful man on the block".
Of course, the above idealistic scenario would be impossible at this present level of collective consciousness and altruism. Not while we are still driven by animalistic urges of territoriality, arrogance, fighting over resources of survival and hoarding them ruthlessly without a care for hungry mouths scattered all over the globe. Really, who said we hadn't evolved from monkeys - all these good things we learned from them.
Too Happy to Lead, Too Undecided to Follow
On the other hand - and thanks god there is always this other hand available - we lucky followers got it made. It's not easy to be a leader - especially being so beloved that he has to be followed and protected wherever he goes.
Tomorrow I am going to do something that hardly any leader can do - take a walk alone in my favorite park-forest to feed some ducks and squirrels, to sit on the bench by the river and be happy that my only "followers" will be those chipmunks who saw me feeding other animals. With no ambition to play a leader, even letting my First Lady decide what's gonna be for dinner. Long live democracy!