Thursday, 17 May 2007

‘Without a Vision, the people perish!’ - Election musings from a disillusioned voter

‘Elections should provide lots of good material for bloggers such as myself who love to highlight the strange, bizarre and unbelievable aspects of life. Sadly I find myself totally uninspired by the lead up to this General Election and find little of substance to comment on. Perhaps that is because to date it has been a campaign marked by the usual, ordinary and banal!

From all parties we have heard a variation on the theme of doing down the opposition and promising the electorate a cocktail of rewards! Some of the behaviour has been so pathetic that to call it childish would be complimentary! It also seems utterly soulless! There has been so much spin in recent years that our politicians are dizzy to the point that they do not know who they are or what they really stand for. There is no real passion – there’s plenty of righteous anger and rhetoric but nothing recognisably sincere. I don’t see people putting themselves on the line.

Where is the vision and integrity? Apparently we are told – that’s not what people want on the doorsteps! They are more concerned about health services, law and order, housing and schools for their children. Well of course they are – we all are – but hang on a minute – the provision of these services is based on values such as the integrity and value of every human life, the right of people to feel secure in their homes and indeed to be able to afford a roof over their heads and have basic shelter, not to mention the rights of children to a fair start in life.

So, where do these values come from?…Not the Church – perceived as a instrument of former oppression and enslavement it has nothing to offer!……….Not the politicians….apparently we don’t mind what they do behind closed doors as long as we get what we need!………So where are these values enshrined in our society? For a number of years one slogan has dominated politics in developed and developing economies: “It’s the economy stupid!” Is that where the values we cherish will be protected? Does the rising tide of economic prosperity really float all our boats? Is the Economy really the new Gospel and is our devotion to it truly liberating?

Integrity and values are not optional extras for politicians no more than they are for any human beings. They are part of being a complete human person. We do our politicians no service by telling them otherwise. In-fact we rob them of the tools they really need if they are to truly serve us. No leader can be a great leader if they live a lie…..even if it is a lie that we are content to overlook. What we need at this time in our history is Vision. We have escaped from a repressive and unhealthy past but we are directionless and confused. Having thrown out the old maps and compass we are in uncharted territory and our satnavs are warning us that we have gone off-road! Like the Israelites in the desert we are inclined to hoard the new Manna from Heaven only to find it is beginning to go bad as we fulfil our desires but neglect our needs!

We are moral beings, regardless of whether we are people of religious faith or not! It is shared morality that gives protection to the vulnerable and to the weak and protects the strong from themselves. Increasingly we live in a society that is not so much immoral as amoral! In removing morality have we really broken free or have we enslaved ourselves to a very curtailed view of human potential? It seems very pessimistic that we should settle for a world without values and integrity. The consequence is a world without meaning and maybe we should ask ourselves whether that is why so many people in these ‘prosperous’ times are ending their lives through suicide? “Without a vision the people perish!” (Proverbs 29:18)

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