Take Julius Melanoma for example. Why do people pay attention to him? Why do people support him? Stop putting him on a pedestal! If we all close our eyes and block our ears, he'll lose interest and hopefully start investigating an open electrical socket. Is he really going to be prepped for presidency? I'm not even going to pretend that IQ has anything to do with running a country. We all know that's bollocks (just ask the US of A). I just hope they get a better speech writer, and find some way to turn him off at appropriate moments. Unfortunately, Julius and I have one thing in common (the very thought is enough for me to revisit my mindset)... neither of us want to let go of our "youth". Step down Melanoma, you're no longer one of the young 'uns. Please stop moulding (in every sense of the word) their minds.
Before I become too worked up about this one particular individual, let's look outside of SA politics. Can you guess where the following gents are from?
- A criminal history from his teens, including assault and robbery (the convictions were later overturned, but have subsequently been revisited due to a question of 'falsification of court documents'); formerly Prime Minister, forced to step down in 2004 after a vote of no-confidence; accused of being accomplice (if not perpetrator) in the assault and rape of a woman in 2004; reinstated as Prime Minister in 2006 and most recently elected as President... is any of this sounding familiar?
- Accused of inciting hate speech, bigotry, racism, banned for entry into the UK and currently (and quickly) gaining popularity amongst his constituents. Incidentally and interestingly, for all his hate speech against non-Aryans, he is of mix-race origin (isn't it always the case?). Also regularly accused of a very bad hair-do.
- Without actually making it your full time job, I don't think anyone can keep track of the amount of times that this guy has been accused of fraud, propaganda, organised crime, falsification of records, corruption, bribery, adultery (including solicitation of prostitutes)... the list just goes on and on and on... I think when it comes to political sleazebags, he tops the lot.
- Viktor Yanukovych. Formerly PM, now President of the Ukraine.
- My local pet peeve: Geert Wilders, currently gaining power and notoriety in local elections in the Netherlands.
- Silvio "gives me the absolute chills just thinking about him" Berlusconi. Prime Minister of Italy since 2008.
I think what bothers me the most is is not the fact that these are men who are blatantly in it for the betterment of themselves (unlike Malema, who is only driving a C-class Merc as a political statement against all those racist and slutty people set on destroying his good name), but they have all had a history of being corrupt or violent or just plain idiotic BEFORE they were voted into power. So the masses accepted this and said with a shrug, "meh, there's no one else to vote for", or they don't vote at all and just let the said-politician bulldoze their way past any opposition.
Bear this in mind when lambasting the state of politics in South Africa. More than it being a problem with 'our' government, I think it's just the type of personality that politics attract. Would you want to get into politics? Why not? Probably because you can't bear the thought of being involved in that name-calling, mud-slinging, self-marketeering environment. But who would that appeal to? More often than not it's self-aggrandising 'entrepeneurs' who end up representing you, me and country. While we cringe.
I'm not saying that all politicians are wince-worthy. I like to think that there truly are some noble campaigners and I commend them for even trying to represent the people as Plato intended. I just don't think they last long in the system - they either get out or get sucked in to the dark side. The Malemas, the Wilders, the Berlusconis will somehow always float to the top. Unfortunately.