'History of sorts'?

After winning the trust-vote in a house filled with MLAs who acted more like human beings and less like street-dogs yesterday (14 Oct 2010), chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa exclaimed:
I have created history of sorts by winning the trust vote, the second in three days...
One wonders why it is a history of sorts. Is it because the governor asked him to prove majority twice in three days, like a schoolmaster asking a student to re-write his homework? Or is it because it is a himalayan task to get the MLAs to maintain their conviction in anything for more than three days?

It's likely the latter reason, and that is a matter of concern. If our politicians were driven by principles, it wouldn't be so easy to dislodge them from their positions. Unfortunately, our politicians are driven by a corrupt society divided on caste lines which are at best only arbitrary, and are therefore arbitrary in their convictions.

On a related note, TV anchor Deepak Thimaya, worried that open ridicule of politicians may make make children stop appreciating the importance of democracy, on Tuesday, triggered a good discussion on his facebook page by asking:
Most people who ridicule our politicians do not know what it is to live in a totalitarian or dictatorial regime. I suppose, there is limit to lampooning our elected representatives. They too have their reasons like we have ours. What job security does a politician have and what options do we give a politician to lead an honest life?
Deepak's concern is, of course, very valid. My reply was:
There is no doubt that a corrupt society is the root cause for corrupt politicians. If we reform society, politicians will automatically be reformed.

However, there are many reasons why politicians who misbehave (please note: not all politicians) rightly attract more ridicule than society. Some are:

Firstly, once they reach their high offices, they become entities which independently discourage (if not stop) social reform.

Secondly, they institutionalize, formalize, organize, and strengthen the corruption in the society, because their careers thrive on it.

Thirdly, they symbolize the worst that can happen to people if they capitalize on corruption. Therefore they easily attract ridicule.

Fourthly, their corruption is more visible in the society, and it is natural for people to ridicule visible corruption more than invisible corruption.

Fifthly, not ridiculing the 'sweetest fruit of corruption' can be interpreted as condoning it.

Sixthly, ridiculing them is a way of making people move away from using politics as the sole source of economic gratification, when better alternatives exist.
In short, it's true that social reform is what it takes to reform our politics, but it's right to ridicule the ridicule-worthy.

In any case, is it true that our children will simply start loving the idea of democracy if we all keep mum when our politicians defile the high offices of politics in a democracy?

I believe it is better for us to point out the mistakes made by our politicians, and thereby ask children to be active participants in democracy. Ridiculing those who undermine democracy is an active way of participating in democracy. Children must learn to do it. And they learn it from adults. If adults keep mum about the wrongs of politicians, children will learn exactly that: to keep mum.


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