In spite of much having been done by Prime Minister Julia Gillard that we should be rightly critical of, I still hold hope that there may be an outside chance that a person who has risen to the political top in her country, may have greatness and a streak of decency in her. Knowledge of past history, particularly that of the United States shows that a corrupt elite don't, on every occasion, succeed in corrupting those who rise to the top of their country's political system. This article was originally a comment..
In spite of much having been done by Prime Minister Julia Gillard that we should be rightly critical of, I still hold hope that there may be an outside chance that a person who has risen to the political top in her country, may have greatness and a streak of decency in her. Knowledge of past history, particularly that of the United States shows that a corrupt elite don't, on every occasion, succeed in corrupting those who rise to the top of their country's political system.
This article was originally a comment..
In spite of much having been done by Prime Minister Julia Gillard that we should be rightly critical of, I still hold hope that there may be an outside chance that Julia Gillard, who has risen to the political top in her country, may have greatness and a streak of decency in her.
What gives me this hope is the courage she showed in toppling her indescribably bad predecessor, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, instead of remaining meekly subordinate to him as nearly every other Labor politician in recent decades, would have done. What also gives me hope is knowledge of the history of the United States of America. In the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, people of indisputable greatness and good will, who showed that they were determined to challenge, rather than make compromises with, the corrupt vested interests in the USA, made it to the highest office in the land (or almost certainly would have if they had lived). These figures include, in the 20th century, Presidents John F Kennedy, his brother Robert, President Roosevelt and Martin Luther King. In the 19th century, they include President Lincoln, who waged the Civil War to abolish slavery and challenged the power of private banks, and in the 18th century, they include Presidents, Washington and Jefferson and many of the other founding fathers of the United States.
Of course, it is far more likely that anyone who makes it to the top of a political system in a society under the domination of a corrupt elite will either have been corrupt at the outset or will have been corrupted in the process.
The above examples show that there can be exceptions to that rule.
President John F Kennedy tried to end his country's military intervention in Vietnam (and would have, had he lived) and stopped the military industrial complex from invading Cuba and waging nuclear war. Domestically he stood up to the banks and the steel companies.
President Roosevelt stated in 1944 that he intended to introduce a second part the the US Declaration of Human Rights that would have guaranteed every American citizen the right to paid remuneration that would have met his/her needs for sustenance and shelter. If he had not died in 1945, America could not have become the extremely unjust society that it has since become, as shown in Michael Moore's film of 2009 "Capitalism: A Love Story".
Humanity's unacknowledged debt to Robert Bowman
Another, so far, largely unsung hero (and, astonishingly, unsung by even the supposedly anti-war and anti-racist 'left') is Vietnam War veteran Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bowman. He used his influence to stop Ronald Reagan from launching global nuclear war in the 1980's with his Pershing and Cruise missiles and Star Wars program. He made roughly 5,000 public speeches (I think that is the count) against Reagan's plans for war and in doing so, probably made the greatest individual contribution towards stopping him. For this reason alone the debt humanity owes Bob Bowman may even be greater than that owed to the late President Kennedy.
Robert Bowman has also told the world the truth about the US wars against Iraq in 1992 and 2003 and the supposed attack on the US by Islamist extremists on 11 September 2001.
In Kennedy's case, critics can point to actions of his which seem to have been unprincipled, as we can with Julia Gillard. A number of these actions can however be shown to have been necessary compromises to make possible the eventual achievement of far greater good. If, in spite of human fallibility and the corrupting influence of most other politicians and the political system, such wonderful people were able to use their positions of power to achieve the great good that they have, we should not completely exclude the possibility that decent people can also rise to the top in Australia.
(I apologise that I can't give examples from Australia that are as concrete. I don't know enough to be able to say if certain famous past Australian leaders were as great (considering their more limited context) and as well-intentioned as those in the USA mentioned above.)
Title of article was originally "All who rise to the top of politics aren't necessarily corrupted ".
Thu, 2010-11-11 00:15
What gives me hope about Gillard
Thu, 2010-11-11 10:22
Why "iron law" need not be applied to Gillard
Thu, 2010-11-11 13:43
Media scrunity is democratically healthy
Media scrunity is democratically healthy. Constant media criticism and the holding to account of those who supposedly represent us, is far better than the alternative - State controlled media who don't and can't.
When I watch ABC's 'MediaWatch' or 'Four Corners' or 'Stateline' or even listen to the odd shock jock irrespective of any personal bias, I reflect that aren't we lucky to be able to challenge those in power without journalists being arrested, disappearing or being shot like in so many other countries? Just type 'journalist shot dead' in Google's search engine and note the number of hits - Greece, Bulgaria, Russia, Rwanda, Philippines, Pakistan, Thailand, Colombia, Mexico....
But some politicians, especially factionally installed puppets operating outside their ability and spending our taxes outside their electoral mandate, deserve more scrutiny than others.