Can You Trust Your Ambitious Leader(s)?
A simple thought experiment to know your leader!
Four years ago, a friend and I sat in a cafe and debated till eleven at night about a popular Nepali journalist who was making headlines everyday for his radical views on mainstream politicians and their works.
The journalist was getting pretty popular by the day so our debate was basically about what that person was really about. My friend was of the opinion that he was a true caretaker of the nation at heart who sincerely meant well for the nation and its people. I, on the other hand, said that it was all bullshit and he was in fact a megalomaniac working his way to become the prime minister of the country.
‘You are vague and talk absolute nonsense,’ the friend said to me. ‘This guy is not driven by political goals, he is instead driven by social altruism.’
‘No,’ I said.
‘Even if he is driven by political motives, what’s wrong in that? After all, he will do good deeds which many political figures haven’t been able to do in this country,’ the friend continued.
‘It makes all the difference,’ I said.
The friend laughed sarcastically as I went red and felt embarrassed.
‘Maybe he was right and I am wrong,’ I said to myself but persisted with my theory. It was too late so we went home after that.
A few months ago, the journalist we had discussed about founded a political party. Now, you can see him everywhere. His posters are everywhere, with texts calling people to participate in his rallies. He stands in the posters with one hand raised in the air with a seriousness that even Imran Khan would find embarrassing. Even his attire, which used to be suits, has changed to a rather Nehruian look.
Today, I don’t meet with that friend anymore. But I would love to sit with him discussing the changes seen in his ‘social altruist’. My prediction that the journalist was working his way to become the prime minister of the country has now almost proved to be true. Just how influential his party is in the upcoming elections will determine whether he does or not become the country’s prime leader. However, his active involvement in politics has shown that he has political ambitions of some (many) sort. I don’t believe anyone forcefully dragged him into entering politics! (I wonder if my friend believes that.)
‘Even if he is driven by political motives, what’s wrong in that? After all, he will do good deeds which many political figures haven’t been able to do in this country,’ the friend had said.
‘It makes all the difference,’ I had said.
The point of this article wasn’t to talk about an ambitious Nepali journalist turned politician who will have absolutely no impact in your life. The point was to express what I meant when I said It makes all the difference:
There is a difference between sitting with a person thinking he is there to do good for you and knowing his goal in life is to be a prime minister. All citizens being in the latter state is the absolute basis of what it takes to make this thing called democracy even remotely possible!
The difference is that someone who genuinely cares about you will sacrifice their ambition for it, whereas someone seeking power will gladly sacrifice you to further his own goals. You are a conscious citizen (or consumer) if you can truly predict what your revered leader will do when faced with this difficult decision.