OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE: BRINGING POLITICS UNDER CONTROL

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 12 Apr 2010

Charles Mercieca, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

If we were to study carefully the evolution of events that took place over the past 6,000 years of recorded history, we will discover that most of the world’s problems stemmed out from politics of one kind or another. The New Webster Dictionary of the English Language describes “politics” as “the science of government; that part of ethics which relates to the regulation for the preservation of its safety, peace, and prosperity.”

Meaning of Politics

Also, politics is derived from the Greek word “polis” meaning city, which consists of citizens that make up the state or the nation. Those who become involved in the government of a nation are normally viewed as politicians. Needless to say, politicians are human beings that may be good or bad, beneficial or detrimental, and generous or egoistic. The people of a nation always tend to benefit when their politicians are highly concerned with their human needs.

At the same time, people in general always tend to suffer in many ways when their politicians carry agendas that are beneficial to a selected few but detrimental to many others. These kinds of politicians are viewed as abusive and the greatest problem people are faced with in this regard lies in how to get rid of them fast and smooth, peacefully and effectively. Since politicians differ from each other enormously it is somewhat difficult and confusing to have them classified by political or religious affiliation or other devised categories.

The Romans had a proverb, aliud est theoria aliud est practica – one thing is theory and other thing is practice. On the whole, people all over the world seem to share at least one thing in common about politicians. This was pointed out by well-known writer George Orwell who said: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.” This statement cannot be taken lightly because it has been verified to be true century after century to this very same day.

Let us examine carefully George Orwell’s words. Suppose we come to know that the food we are about to share with many of our friends is poisonous, what would we do? Shall we proceed to consume it knowing that all of us afterwards will be sick, if not dead? Or shall we have it discarded and seek for a remedy to this problem? If we were to tell the people that this food is very good and tasty and they believe us, they will surely proceed to eat it only to face the tragic consequences that will follow.

Deceitful Politics in Operation

Contrary to the admonition of the United Nations, Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, and many outstanding world figures, the United States proceeded to invade Iraq.
The political language designed by the US government consisted of lies that were made to sound truthful. Not only that, but as George Orwell pointed out, the US government and its European allies made the murder of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi people viewed as respectable. This needless massacre was referred to by some US military officials as “collateral damage!”

Is it possible that in the world of politics we manage to reach a point as to find it necessary to reduce the sacred lives of many to merely a piece of furniture?! Moreover, to turn an insult into an injury, the US later insisted that the Iraqis were better off now, following the American invasion, than they were before under Saddam Hussein. Quite a few humanitarian and non-governmental organizations visited Iraq to see for themselves what was going on there. They asked little children between the ages of nine and twelve the following question: “What would like to do when you grow up?

We were told that some 80% of the Iraqi children said without hesitation: “Killing Americans!” Those that raised the question in the first place were very much surprised with this reply. So they proceeded to ask: “Why do you want to do that?” Each of these children gave more or less the same answer: “Because Americans killed my father, they killed my mother and they killed or maimed my brothers, sisters and friends.”

Others added saying: “Americans destroyed our homes and schools and all of our belongings and now we are all homeless.” When the Iraqi adults were asked: “Don’t you feel better that the US troops removed Saddam Hussein from office?” They all said unanimously: “We were much better before the invasion of Americans because then we still had our houses and schools, our spouses were alive and well and all of us enjoyed seeing our children playing and growing up. Now a number of them are gone and others are maimed and ruined for life.”

Ironically, the United States views itself as a nation of democracy that is “ruled by the people who elect their representatives to serve them as senators and congressmen.” Well, the vast majority of the American people proved to be against the US invasion of Iraq. Moreover, after such an invasion the American people, as a whole, continued to say loud and clear that the US government should pull out all US troops from Iraq without further delay. We had even US presidential candidates, one of whom was Dennis Kucinich, who vowed to pull out all American troops out of Iraq without further delay, if elected.

Orwell’s Saying at Work

Unfortunately, like George Orwell well pointed out, the US government succeeded to make the tremendous amount of civilian killings in Iraq look respectable, “a necessity to safeguard the freedom, democracy and security of the United States” as some leading politicians said over and over again in the US news-media. By the way, in the last US presidential elections Barack Obama was elected as the next US President primarily because he promised to end the war in Iraq and bring all US troops back home, even though as of now his promise has not yet been fulfilled.

Also, the American people elected Barack Obama as their US President because he promised that he would resort to solve political problems through healthy dialogues and strong diplomacy and not through struggles and wars. This peaceful approach in the sphere of world politics that he promised enabled him to win the Nobel Peace Prize as well. Of course, this new US President has still time to prove his sincere promises in replacing struggles and wars with harmony and peace everywhere. However, when he escalated the war in Afghanistan many Americans felt highly disappointed.

Besides, due to the fact that the United States is deeply immersed in a culture of war mentality, the unjust struggle in the Middle East is still on. The way to bring politics under control is for the people in the world to see to it that those that represent them in the government give top priority on people’s health care and education rather than on continued struggles and wars which lead to nowhere except to the eventual bankruptcy of the national economy. The time has arrived when the people should bring politics under their full control.

Anything that politicians say which is not conducive to the welfare of all people without exception should be viewed as dangerous and should never get our support. Anything that politicians say which is beneficial to welfare of people from every walk of life and procession should receive our wholehearted support. To this end, we must keep good politicians and get rid of the bad ones.

There is not one single group in the world that could claim to be perfect, an ideal source of inspiration. In other words, it is not wise for us to make it a habit to elect politicians because of their affiliation with a specific political party or with a religion of one kind or another. It would reveal a great lack of wisdom on our part if we were to view blindly things the way politicians would want us to see them in order to control us.

Political Meaning of “Pro-Life”

Let us illustrate this by some practical example. In the United States people are notably influenced by the name the political party carries: Republican versus Democrat, or the politician’s religious affiliation. In this latter one, Americans feel often trapped in a political dilemma, especially when they are faced by self-proclaimed “pro-life” politicians versus self-proclaimed “pro-choice” politicians. These divisions or classifications are nothing but meaningless and deceitful frames people choose to put in their mind.

It will help us understand better where we stand in politics if we were to illustrate what has just been stated with some evidences that bring into proper focus the contradictions found in politics. Republicans claim to be “pro-life.” This certainly pleases many clergymen especially when Republicans stress that “the sacredness of life starts from the moment of conception.” Like George Orwell well stated, this political statement is “designated to make lies sound truthful.” In fact, we need here to raise one serious question.

If the sacredness of life starts from the first moment of conception then does this sacredness of life end with the moment of birth? This is a very relevant question since Republicans always tend to solve virtually all political problems at the global level with all sorts of struggles and wars. This is revealed in their putting more money in the manufacture and sales of weapons, in the building of hundreds of US military bases around the world and in their instigation of more struggles and wars where millions of innocent people are killed, including pregnant women!

We all know that actions speak louder than words. Since struggles and wars could only be waged by people, is it possible that Republicans and those who claim to be “pro-life” may have ulterior motives? Are they “pro-life” as to make sure more humans are born to be used later as instruments to massacre millions of innocent people? Republicans, with other politicians that support US belligerent foreign policies, succeed to make “murder appear to be respectable,” as George Orwell remarked. Many US politicians state that “wars cannot be avoided when the freedom, democracy and security of the USA is involved!”

If that is the case, then we need to define well the meaning of freedom democracy and security, otherwise we will continue to misuse such words to the detriment of the American nation and, as a matter of fact, of every other single nation in the world. The New Webster Dictionary of the English Language defines these three stated terms as follows.

Freedom, Democracy and Security

Freedom is described as “the state of being free; exemption from slavery, confinement, or constraint; liberty; independence; openness; outspokenness.” Each time the United States invades other countries, and interferes with their internal affairs does it make sense to say that this was to preserve American freedom?! What about if Russia and China were to invade the USA under the guise of preserving Russian and Chinese freedom?

Democracy is described as “that form of government in which the supreme power rests with the people, ruling themselves either directly or through representatives. It’s a government, as Abraham Lincoln put it that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The United States has no right whatsoever to impose its form of government on other nations by military force, under the guise of “preserving” its so called democracy.

Security is described as “the state of being secure; freedom from apprehension; freedom from danger or risk; something that secures against pecuniary loss.” How does the manufacture and sales of weapons to anyone that gives the right price, the eventual US military invasion of a nation along with the forming of so called military alliances bring security to the American nation that takes the initiative to attack other nations?

We are all familiar with the saying that “what goes around comes around,” and with the Master Teacher’s firm warning to “put the sword away for he who kills by the sword will die by the sword.” In view of what has been stated, it is quite obvious that many politicians in quite a number of countries have eventually emerged to be very dangerous to their respective nation’s people. People everywhere need to become fully aware of this tangible reality and do something about it, the sooner the better.

Let us all face our greatest challenge courageously keeping in mind that “when there is a will there is a way.” In the social sphere, the people exist to control politics and not the other way round. Politicians who resort to dialogues and diplomacy rather than struggles and wars, should receive our full support since they prove to be very beneficial to all people without exception.

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Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.
-President, International Association of Educators for World Peace – Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education, Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament
-Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 12 Apr 2010.

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