I am well aware that I'm not the only person who questions the integrity of our politicians.
Political integrity? Pffft, you've got to be joking!
More people seem to be questioning their integrity every day. It seems the people are voting for and supporting what they perceive to be the lesser of the evils, rather that the standard bearer of their values and aspirations.
While I recognise that we need politicians to run our country and local districts, I still find most of them unappealing. While I appreciate that I have little right to complain, given that I have never put my hand up to serve, I cannot help finding most of them a waste of space. While I appreciate that most politicians may enter politics with the best of intentions, I don't see those intentions enduring.
I am sure there are many reasons for politicians demonstrating a lack of integrity, including the party machines, factions, the attraction of power, the fear of losing power and a fear of losing their job.
But the fact remains, I see very few politicians that I believe have their integrity intact. Fighting through the factional system, following party rules, the desire to become a ministry and the desire not to lose their seat seems to beat real integrity out of them. Well, most of them, anyway.
This lack of integrity is reflected in the propensity for politicians to say one thing before taking power and another after, voting against legislation they previously supported because it has been put forward by their opponents, supporting one leader today and another in a month, not retiring when it is their time to go, and working the system to extract full value in terms of prestige, power and financial rewards.
Like most people, there are mant statements that I view as being at odds with integrity. These include ‘politics is the art of the possible’ or ‘I do what I can, but I am a member of a party’. Such weasel words make my skin crawl. Such words should never pass the lips of someone with real integrity. Such words are not, however, the most offensive.
The most offensive words I hear from politicians - and we hear them every day - are those that tell me what they think I want to hear. I find it repulsive when a politician talks about this ‘great country of ours’, ‘Australia being the greatest multicultural nation on earth’, ‘Australians being among the most generous people on earth’, what ever city 'being the most vibrant city in the nation' the day before another city is 'the most exciting’, and that ‘we are truly a compassionate nation’.
When articulating words of this nature, politicians are not only telling us what they think we want to hear while demonstrating a complete lack of sincerity, but they are also lying and taking the audience for fools. Where's the integrity here?
This gets worse when they tell us what Australian’s want. Apparently, ‘Australians want a government that is united, ‘Australians want cheap power and more jobs’, ‘Australians want a plebiscite on gay marriage' (when surveys consistently show we don’t), ‘Australians want frank and open government’, and ‘Australians want decisive government. All of these things may sound good, but there is almost never any evidence that Australians have ever thought about the issue, let alone formed a view on it.
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Politicians have also become expert at trying to sound sincere, and stateman or stateswoman like. They work to sound conciliatory when they have no intention of compromising. They work at sounding informed, when clearly they are not, or at sounding like they know more than everyone else, when clearly they don’t. They work hard at convincing us that they have all the answers, when we know that nobody does. They work hard at destroying their opposition when neither one has a well-researched, valid or sincere position.
The real problem is that they lack authenticity. It is so long since I have seen a politician act authentically. They are far too busy listening to media relations consultants or crafting their responses to ensure that they say what we want to hear, without actually saying anything that commits them to anything. They are too busy criticising their opponents when they agree with them – thinking that to agree with them is a sign of weakness, when it is actually a sign of sincerity.
Whatever happened to the authentic politician? And don’t tell me that Donald Trump, Barnaby Joyce or Bob Katter are examples of authentic politicians. They just have a different style to their lack of authenticity and complete lack of integrity.
I may be alone, but I just want a local member and Prime Minister that are sincere and authentic.
Right now, even if I did not agree with their policies, I would probably vote for them.
Do you agree with DJC? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.