When Politicians Forget
This article discusses what it means to be an elected public servant†in a representative democracy and†the role of freedom of expression†
The news concerning how a particular governor reacted to the criticism by medical professionals of the former’s promotion of an unproven therapy for COVID 19 is not only unfortunate but deeply saddening as well. The expert opinions of these medical professionals on the matter should have been valued instead of attacked. After all, they only voiced their concern not for any selfish political gain but was done out of concern for the public health and safety of the people in the governor’s jurisdiction.
A representative democracy is where people elect representatives who are supposed to enact and execute policies in their behalf. In such a system, political leaders are meant to act for the benefit of the people whom they represent. And the mechanism by which we choose these representatives is through elections.
This is why the phrase winning an election is erroneous. An election is not a raffle draw. The candidate was chosen by a majority of an electorate to govern and lead. Those politicians who forget that it was the people who elected them act as though they own their positions. They become beholden to no one. And in their hands, public service loses its meaning.
This news is tragic because there still seems to be a lack of mature understanding and appreciation for the system of government in this country. We are all affected by this pandemic. And this should move everyone to work together instead of seeing and treating everything with suspicion.
Freedom of expression, which is a right granted to every citizen exists mainly to help facilitate representative leadership. Without it, how can duly elected leaders know what their constituents need or whether or not their programs are beneficial?
The divisive nature of politics should not be the sole concern of our leaders. Because when they give in to this, they begin to see only two kinds of people, supporters and critics, friends and foes.
Political leaders should not only welcome a free exchange of ideas but encourage the same instead of attacking or silencing their critics.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Frederick Edward Fabella, PhD is a research director,† dean and graduate school professor in the Philippines.† Download his self-help ebook for free here†Authentic Self free ebook