Monday, August 18, 2008

The Perfect Politician: Future Career Path

There are plenty of good politicians out there. They're running around as production managers in industry, manning hospitals, producing albums and living out ordinary lives. Frankly, who wants to be involved in politics? All the evidence seems to indicate that if you want to achieve anything useful in the political realm, you have to play the usual game of trickery, subtle lies, back-stabbing and support mongering. It seems that politics is caught in a self-destructive cycle: there are no good politicians, because the politics game is so dirty, because there are no good politicans.

It's time for a fresh image, for the dream, for the ideal. It's time for the ACDP to present the fresh image of the "Perfect Politician". It's time to get back to the good young people and present the community leader that all the good folk look to for protection, for a smooth running city and for integrity in a dark world. There are people who are ready to play that role, but they need to be put in the right support structure so they don't walk that path alone and find themselves "losing the faith" as so many good aspirants do when they enter the political realm.

Truth be told, much of politics is tedious. Winning the vote is hard work, especially when you know that you're unlikely to win it without extravagant promises and bold proclamations. And let's face it, you can work hard and not even get into the media, so people may never know about you. When you get into the role, the public spare nothing in criticising whenever something goes wrong, regardless of the good you've done. You're expected to do the right thing, it's taken for granted and goes unnoticed and unappreciated. And the dirty guys are waiting for your smallest slip-up to use in their next campaign.

There are rewards of course. The fame, prestige and attention comes aplenty. Salaries are decent - better than what most receive, but not as much as a skilled professional might get (you'll earn between R8000 and R14000 as a counsellor in KZN). Even better, you get to play a role where you do really impact on the lives of many people. You plan city layouts, you put protections mechanisms in place, you decide on rates, bylaws and regulations. Your work touches a lot of people.

I guess the sense of power is what draws a dangerous crowd to the arena, but rather than play modest and back off, which is the tendency sometimes among the good, there is a need for people who will step into the arena and not shy away from the bright lights. For this very reason, we need to begin proactively targeting young people with potential again, and not wait for them to come to us. I would rather have a bright spark working in government than ticking over somewhere in a highly paid position in some multi-national corporation.

The key to roping in the next generation is to start afresh and renew the image: what is a perfect politician? Let's get this train back on the rails of idealism. While reality sometimes requires a slight shift away from the ideals, we sure have veered a long way off and can go some distance to restoring the dream.


Jennifer. Naicker (ACDP) said...

Hey Eric. I just joined the ACDP last year and I represent the Verulam Branch. I am just the secretary for now, doing the average admin work. I am 22 yrs old & currently studying towards my LLB DEGREE. And God willing, I hope to be done by June next year. I agree with you on the article about involving the youth and I am also glad that you've pointed out that politics is a dirty game due to all the lies that politicians must tell in order to get the majority vote. That is why, I believe that the Lord is equipping the ACDP to take a stand in this nation and bring back Godly Governance. I also believe that there will be no need to make empty promises to the people (in order to get their vote) because they will be able to see that God is above everything and once they see that they will vote for the ACDP (the party that projects God's Biblical Principles.
Keep up the good work with the articles.

Jennifer. Naicker (ACDP)

Eric Savage said...

Thanks Jennifer.

I'm glad you are studying law - perhaps it will be of use to the ACDP some day.

The IEC have identified youth as the most apathetic voting section, and it certainly is time to restore a sense of hope and faith in what WE as South Africans do in our country, rather than what govt can do for us. If the ACDP is to have success, let it be because we pioneer a movement of local action, rather than simply saying the right things.

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