Dirty Politics in Democracy
When we study what democracy is in school, we learn about what it should be. As you get closer to what it is in reality (especially when counseling state leaders), you find out that what should be is not necessarily what is. What is, can be quite dirty.
I will not mention the country I am referring to because there is more than one of them, which is troubling, but, any reader—if you were to scratch the surface of the news—should be able to identify some cases of dirty politics.
Assume that a certain party has been in power for many years and the opposition is incapable of tearing it down. In this case, there is a strategy the opposition might take: they find one or more characters who are under investigation for their shady business practices. The opposition secretly approaches them and makes a deal: “If we take power, we’ll take care of you. Your job is to throw as much dirt as possible at the present government, make the present government responsible or a partner in your shady business practices.” And that is what those characters do.
The dirt that questionable characters throw at the government is broadcast in the news on television or the printed media. Dirt increases viewers which increase ratings which increase advertising revenue. The dirtier the stories, the higher the number of eyes watching or reading and the larger the advertising revenues and the profits.
People trust the written word. They trust the news on TV although the dirt has never been verified or the accused state leader taken to trial and found guilty. In the court of public opinion, which influences votes, just throwing that dirt is enough to stir people’s blood. People are unhappy in general with their lives and would like to see improvement. They are led to believe that the way to improve their life is to change the corrupt government. The result: demonstrations in the streets, people make banners and march against the present government, accusing them of corruption. That corruption, I repeat, has not been proven, but the existence of that corruption is assumed, and perception in politics is a reality, at least for those who believe in it. There is a good chance that the government will fall, the opposition will rise to power, and the questionable characters will reap the benefits.
There is more that ills modern democracy. During election or the pre–election frenzy, the opposing candidates throw as much dirt on each other as possible. They even have people assigned the responsibility to find as much dirt as possible and if it is minor to make it look as it is major. Since no human is ever perfect saint, dirt is everywhere and the result is that the voting people mistrust all candidates. Here is a joke to make the point:
A teacher asks the class what does your father do. One is an engineer, the other a businessman, etc. Little Peter says, he is a male whore in a strip tease club. Silence. After class the teacher asks Peter, is your father really a male whore? ” No, he is not,” says Peter. “He is a politician. I was too embarrassed to say it!”
People do not trust politicians anymore. Actually, detest them. They now elect people with no experience, no track record. See Ukraine: a comedian that never managed anything beyond his small production company but with a name recognition was elected president of the country. How? New face. No record. And to keep himself immune to criticism, he followed Trump’s script when running for president: he did not present any plan of action for what he will do if elected and refused to attend debates, So, there was nothing to criticize. People could hope that he will do whatever they want.
This is not a democracy. Is it?