Some Thoughts on Politics and Democracy
“Once every five years, everyone chooses to forget what they’ve learnt. Democracy in action.”
The Doctor (as scripted by Stephen Moffatt)
As unusual as it is for me to be cynical about anything, this timely quote in last Saturday's Dr. Who sent me scurrying to my books of quotations to see what others have said about politics, politicians and the precious gift of democracy. It seems as if, from the earliest of times, people had a pretty low opinion of the whole sordid business:
"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to office."
"Vote for the man who promises least; he'll be the least disappointing."
"it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
"Democracy consists of chosing your dictators, after they've told you what they think you want to hear."
"The word ‘politics’ is derived from the word ‘poly’, meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’, meaning ‘blood-sucking parasites’."
"If you want to succeed in politics, you must keep your conscience well under control."
David Lloyd George
"If experience teaches us anything at all, it teaches us this: that a good politician, under democracy, is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar."
H. L. Mencken
"A fool and his money are soon elected."
"he knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career."
"Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve."
"Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few."
George Bernard Shaw
But now... having sated my natural cynicism, let me introduce a more Biblical perspective on this democratic politics malarky... where Paul tells Timothy:
"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."
1 Timothy 2:1-2
In a democracy, I suppose that means that we pray not only for those seeking political power, but the "king-makers" too, that is, us... the electorate... Theoretically that is where power and authority lies. May we use it prayerfully and wisely.