Politicians are everyone's favorite whipping boys. (Or whipping girls, in the interest of being quite PC). I have always loved the saying "People get the rulers they deserve" - I think that is absolutely right.
Of course, as far as politics and politicians are concerned, there is an endless list of topics that can be discussed, but there is one that I struck me recently. I think it was sparked by an article in my local newspaper (The News & Observer). It attacked the perceived myopia of local politicians, including the Raleigh mayor with some intense venom.
The topic of the piece was about zoning issues, with the newspaper saying that the politicians were being myopic by giving out commercial licenses like candy to the likes of Wal*Mart and Target.
The newspaper was probably bang-on. However, I couldnt help putting myself in the politician's shoe for a few seconds. Every decision that a politician makes is similar to the proverbial "Devil or the Deep Sea" decision. And when politicians are criticized for making decisions purely to get votes, arent the voters equally to blame for voting for the politicians who give them the short term advantages, forgetting the long term ?
How many voters would pay more for gas today ? Very few. And yet they accuse politicans about taking a short-term view of the gas crisis by invading Iraq and not funding renewable energy research. How many voters would like it if their politicans came to them and said that a decision had been made to spend all available resources on developing renewable energy, which would translate to a higher price at the pump for the next 10 years, but low prices thereafter ? Would voters like that ?
Of course not !
So, if politicians are myopic, voters force them to be myopic and focused on the short term. Thats what I think.
Everybody wants immediate results. Indian voters want a new sari and a dhoti rather than an opportunity to have a pucca home in 10 years. (Jayalalitha vs. Chandrababu Naidu) - So, who was right, Amma or Naidu ?