Do these parliamentarians really care about the needs of their supporters?
I for one was in a state of wonderment as I observed the budget debates – wonderment because I really could not believe that our parliamentarians were speaking as the voice of their constituents as evidenced by the rabid (un)parliamentary behaviour of some.
I think that the argument has already been made for live broadcast of parliamentary sessions so I will not go there except to say that I for one don’t believe that they – our MPs- listen to, or care about the needs of their supporters. I am left with a rancid taste occasioned by the perception that save for a few outstanding exceptions the members’ general attitude reminded me of a rambunctious bunch of overgrown juveniles.
I have to ask myself if these representatives are truly accessible to the people whose interests they are sworn to represent.
If yes, do the people know this and do they avail themselves of the opportunities provided? I am forced to reflect on an observation I made to a very good friend of mine nearly twenty years ago when I remarked on the phenomenon of inaccessibility where, from the moment some persons occupy “high” office or positions of power, it becomes virtually impossible to secure an audience with them.
I define those positions of power as ranging from the supervisor of the most menial of tasks to policy makers in both the private and public sectors. It may well be argued as Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said that “… if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Editor, it would be unreasonable for us to assume that just because we were friendly with someone before s/he received a promotion that we have a divine right to access her/him any old time without due regard to the functions, role and responsibilities of the assumed office.
By the same token I am sure that we can argue that not all of time would that supervisor or politico or whoever be so caught up in the demands and pressures of office that a little time is not spared to maintain grounding or to touch base –as it were – with the constituents, something which may not be realizable through third parties at all times.
Again it may be a case of the new boss so imbued with a sense of importance that s/he sees nothing in common with his/her former associates – which in itself is understandable. As an aside I heard that there are some people who believe in their own self-importance so much so that they would have you warming the seats in their reception room while they are doing no more than reshaping paper clips just to prove how busy they are.
Some others believe that if you answer the phone on the first two rings then it shows that you are idle. But seriously there are those whose sense of self-importance and desire for external gratification so stifle them that they lose their grounding in a process where their inner peace and satisfaction suffer.
One manifestation of this is that their lives go out of whack where they lose touch with those closest to them or co-opt them with their points of view causing a loss of the capacity to think logically about important issues thus proving the truism that it is indeed lonely at the top.
Then there is the situation where the presence of self-imposed guardians of the lines of communication is so pervasive that it renders the boss virtually impotent and a scenario evolves making the guardian the omnipotent plenipotentiary.
But back to my main thrust, Editor. After that budget debacle all of the putative representatives of the people need to demonstrate that they are unaffected by the seduction of power and are unafraid to stay connected to their values and principles.
MPs need to shed any semblance of an imposter complex where deep insecurities and paranoia exist. I know that it will require discipline, since it is so easy for human beings to reject the honest critic who speaks the truth to power opting instead to surround themselves with sycophants who tell them only what they want to hear.
Such an environment can only lead to incapacity to engage in honest dialogue and a learned survival mode of not confronting the bosses with reality.
Patrick E. Mentore