In many countries, politics has devolved to a lamentable level. It is no longer for honorable statesmen who put the welfare of their countrymen before their own. Instead, politics has become an arena where gladiators compete for power and money. And to win, they lie. They cheat. They pay bribes. They maim. They kill. And all of this is done with no iota of compunction. It’s a dirty, deadly game. No wonder, it no longer attracts genuinely good and capable people. Gone are the true public servants, philanthropists and altruists. Those who are left are mostly hooligans and criminals in Armani suits.
Nowadays, when people choose their leaders during elections, it is a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. People no longer look for the good candidate. Instead, they look for the lesser evil. During campaign, people no longer scout for the candidate who is telling the truth. Instead, they look for the candidate who is telling the least lies.
They no longer ask: which of these men and women will fight for better wages and compensation of workers? Instead, they ask: which of these scammers will not steal that much from me? Yes, they expect to be robbed. They no longer look for the person who will serve and uplift the people. Instead, they try to guess which person is less likely to abuse marginalized constituents.
People no longer ask which politician will try his best to educate the people. Instead, they ask which one will not take advantage of the people’s ignorance? People no longer ask: which of these candidates will protect me? Instead, they ask: which of these bastards won’t kill me? Whose tenure will I survive?
Not voting won’t prevent bad people from getting into power. Most election laws, as well as bureaucratic structures and cultural mindsets, are skewed in favor of cheaters. Undeserving politicians almost always manage to win.
But this moral decline in politics did not happen overnight. It happened gradually, in small imperceptible increments throughout the decades. People—the voters, the masses— tolerated small lies, small thefts, small aggressions. As long as the politician spoke with eloquence, or with humor — and gave them favors as cheap as a can of meatloaf—people were willing to ignore little infractions. And when politicians realized that their little naughtiness was ignored, they got bolder. They lied more. They stole bigger. The little aggression became murder. And they still got away with it. And it has been going on and on and on, that we have become numb to the evil we helped create.