Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Illusionary World of the Professional Politician (PP)


'He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.'
George Bernard Shaw

Imagine that a group of friends or lovers or, heaven forbid, relatives arrive at your home unannounced. Do you welcome them with a lie, or tell the truth? "Frankly, I'm tired and exhausted, and each and every one of you love and hate yourselves, and each other, with equal veracity. You dishonour and threaten the rest of society with your insincerity, cynicism, virtuous morality and false judgments."

Mind you, I could be talking about professional politicians (PPs). They do tend to speak unnaturally, and make fools of themselves with their endless meaningless speeches and rabbit-hole opinions, which I find imperceptible, and avoid at all cost. Their eternal scrambling for status, one-upmanship and hierarchy comes at the cost of gaining an enlarged sallow or salmon coloured face. Furthermore, they grow capacious emotional armpits which can, if permitted, shower each living creature within a hundred metres with dark tepid perspiration: 'water' and 'excreta' to you and me.

When PPs are not being driven to God-knows-where (in a vehicle with tinted windows which gives the 'deluded occupant' time to practice the art of the sudden teardrop) I have, on occasion, seen the odd PP dreamily flying past on a bicycle. When it happens, however, as one is seated at the bedside of an ailing relative one tends to feel distressed, even shocked, at the state of democratic socialism. It means cracks are starting to show. And growing bigger by the day, I might add. And by night, for all I know.

I condemn and absolve no one. You see - well, I hope you see - most PPs (when not engaged in fiddling their expenses, strolling on Clapham Common looking for badgers in the middle of the night, wearing gimp masks to house parties, junketeering at public expense, head-butting fellow PPs, conducting 'drunken brawls' over interns) are transfixed by human torment: usually their own. Don't be surprised if the following attributes remind you of some people who 'spend their time' in government departments or the legal professions ... in short, within the dazzling diversity of delicate society.

Do you believe no person exists in this world as talented as you? Have you an insatiable desire for praise and recognition? Have you an irresistible urge to judge others? Can you notice a person's one weakness and forget their many strengths? Do you enjoy rushing your opponents: putting them under pressure to affect their judgment? Are you devoted to endless meetings? Television and radio interviews? Press conferences and photo ops? Have you perpetrated or sanctioned: intimidation, bribery, burglary, oppressive surveillance, kidnapping, interrogation, torture, severe hunger or starvation, death threats, assassinations, killing or murder? Does your blinkered ideological cocktail contain a litany of nonsensical beliefs? Are you prone to verbosity when you are alone? Are you unable to resist the temptation to flatter? to gossip? to pontificate? to browbeat? to upstage others? to lie under oath? Are you ...? Is your life a fraud?

An intriguing but manageable list, you will agree. Whether the election laws are democratic or undemocratic you may have the attributes required of a professional politician. A day may come, however, when you are unable to stand the 'meat grinder' no longer: the lies; the jibes; the false accusations; the feigned smiles and handshakes; the doctored speeches.

Unfortunately, a day may come when you may open yourself to 'substantiated' accusations. The abrupt leap from academic achievements, political and diplomatic successes, to a hoarse shout from behind prison bars may seem austere, but apt.

Some professional politicians believe they are above the law. They're wrong. This comforting illusion which they create, and in which they exist, can vanish as swift as it has begun.

(2013)