Saturday, August 8, 2009

Politics and parenting

Parenting is difficult. But it must be very difficult for a politician or bureaucrat to be a parent, especially when ethically, one is as crooked as a corkscrew. Children observe you all the time, learning, making mental notes and finally imitating. It can’t be easy for a politician to teach his children to be frugal for instance. His life is lavish, more cars than he knows what to do with, lots of money just pouring into his coffers from those wanting him to bend the law for them.

It can’t be easy for him to teach his children to be respectful of others. He is arrogant and treats those around him like dirt. He instills fear in his subordinates and takes pleasure in asking them to perform impossible tasks.

It can’t be easy for him to teach his children to have self-respect, or carry themselves with dignity, when he practically prostrates himself before his superiors, subservient, fawning and ready to kiss the ground they walk on.

How can he possibly teach his children about honesty in financial transactions? When his every waking moment is spent in finding ways and means of looting the people of the country? Nothing is beyond limits for him. He will steal anything, from paise to crores.

How will his children learn to be law-abiding citizens of a civilized society, when they see him interfering with the workings of the police? When they see him ordering the police to let thieves, murderers, rapists and paedophiles walk free?

How can they ever learn to live in harmony among people of different caste and creed? It’s not possible when they see their politician parents actively planning and plotting actions that will lead to communal riots.

Instilling in their children the need for hard work to get a job done properly would be so difficult, when it is clear as a summer day that the politician parent does no work at all. His children will see that their parent cannot even walk from Point A to Point B. He rides in a fleet of fancy cars. He cannot even drive himself. He delegates work to his army of lackeys and expects the job to be done.

How can he teach them moderation and self-restraint when he frequents casinos and other unsavoury establishments and even gets into highly publicized fights with the management?

How can he teach his children courage by example, when he is always in a blue funk about losing the election, or being forced to resign. When he lives in mortal fear of the Income Tax authorities, the Vigilance department or a nosy Press?

How can he teach them caution, when he does not stop to think that his actions can destroy lives and the future of generations of people?

How can he teach them balance and judgement when he will listen to only that which is convenient to him? How can he teach them to be defiant to uphold that which is right and reject that which will harm others? Especially when he takes the line of least resistance? How can he teach them generosity of spirit, or gratitude, or humility, when he shows none?

Where will he find the tools to teach them gentleness, impartiality or kindness? What about sincerity? When all he knows is deceit? And then there’s loyalty not just to each other, but to those who went before us and those who will come after us. How can he teach loyalty when all he knows is how to pull down those above him and kick those below him?

It’s a difficult job. Not politics, but parenting. No wonder than that we see the next generation of politicians’ children walking in their parents’ footsteps, following in letter and spirit all that their parents did. And more.

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