“One pitfall of unbridled democracy is poor leadership… In every country, there are great people who should lead. But seeing the filth in politics, add the fears of those who come into power, they are unwilling to take the risk. And so very often, the leaders are mediocre people at best…” (Mahatir Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia)
It bears noting that the more signal reflections and pursuant relevant expressions in the above cited portion of the speech of the former Prime Minister of Malaysia – specifically prepared for and recently delivered here in the Philippines – are the following:
“Unbridled democracy”: This is a system of government where before the elections, the candidates profess anything and everything to render public service. Upon being elected, they become experts in self-service – and even tolerated to act as lords of the people and saviors of the Country. On the other hand, there are the citizens who hold rallies for their rights, who stage demonstrations for their rights. Their obligations? Never mind.
“Great people …unwilling to take the risk”: As a matter of fact, politicians are looked upon as anything but exemplars of integrity, models of sincerity. When they mingle with people, these profess admiration and show adulation towards them. When the same politicians are gone, the same people hold them in contempt and ridicule. Result: Good and honorable individuals abhor politics – thus looking at politics as something despicable.
“Poor leadership”: Time and again, this is the sad and long experience of the Filipinos who are said to have a “republican” form of government. Translation: Wealth is the biggest measure of political possibilities. Influence is what truly counts in having and holding political positions. Popularity is the key in getting elected into public offices. Result: Poor political leadership – as a matter of course.
“Filth in politics”: Before the elections: The use of guns to threaten if not to silence the opposition. The employ of goons to frighten or sow fear among those against certain political candidates. The ply of gold to buy fidelities and needed votes. Ater the elections: Generous financial grants to their own selves from public funds – approved by them for themselves. Big beneficial considerations to relatives, patrons and friends.
“Leaders …mediocre”: No need to elaborate, really.
Conclusion: Poverty and democracy do not go hand in hand. The poor are not free! Misery and sovereignty are dissonant partners. The miserable are not sovereign! Hence, the repeated calls for “Leadership Change,” Regime Change,” “System Change!”