Any individual who is suspect of many wrongdoings and continuous malbehavior will find it a moral impossibility to gain the trust and have the deference of people who know him. This is neither singular nor profound. To believe in someone unbelievable, to respect somebody disrespectable is contrary to reason and offensive to logic.
And this is precisely the fundamental liability of the present administration. Its tenure of government is suspect. That is why it finds it hard to exercise governance. Instead of leading, it is merely led by its preoccupation to retain power and to wield authority. Rather than having the assent of people, many of these demonstrate their strong dissent. Hence, it divides, not unite the citizens.
A trusted and respected government finds it easy to govern effectively to make the citizens abide by its proposed agenda. While competence in governance is a basic requirement for those in fact governing, the confidence and deference on the part of those governed are no less demanded and invaluable—under pain of constant and consistent challenges they throw on the lap of their governors.
The standard liabilities generated by such a continuing contest between the citizens and their government are historically the same: People are restless. Economy suffers. Social stability is undermined. And only those who cannot care less, who are numb to socio-ethical adversities, are at peace with themselves as if they belong to another and distant planet.
The present administration must have realized this classic phenomenon of suspect government equals difficult governance. It should not be the least surprised that loud rhetoric do not help, repeated advertisements do not cut, “pogi points” do not count.
The question is not who will last but who will last longer—the challenging citizens or the challenged government? In answering this question, a good reminder comes to mind: governments come and go. The governed remain—always! Only fools could even think otherwise.
27 May 2006