aqib asks: Why do politicians think that they are the honor of the state, instead of that they are the state’s servants?
Boy, aqib, you might be asking the wrong mammal. Historically, we dogs have always had what’s called “pecking orders,” where our packs are led by the dog who’s the strongest and best fighter. And even in today’s domesticated world, you’ll see dogs pick fights to determine who’s the top male and top female in an area. But beyond that, we don’t really have leaders – and we certainly don’t have politicians. Now that’s not to say that our method is better than the ways you humans live – it’s just different.
But as I look at the history of the human race, I see so much about this issue – kings and queens and dictators and presidents and prime ministers, all wanting to think they’re the best thing there is… but almost always figuring out at some point that they’re actually just servants to the people. A very good movie came out recently called “The King’s Speech,” which showed just how scary and miserable a job being king can be. In it, the poor fellow really just wanted to hide from the public, but eventually he realized that he needed, not only to be seen and heard, but to lead. He had to be someone everyone could look up to and honor.
Now with royalty, it’s one thing – they didn’t ask to be born into this position of responsibility (and incredible wealth). But in democracies, politicians DO choose. Even if they’re born with a name like Kennedy, Bush, or Gandhi, that make people think of them as political, they don’t have to run for elected office (the name just makes it easier). So when you see someone actually choose to try to get elected, that means something in them really makes them want to do it! Now maybe it is simply a desire to serve. But clearly lots of people want to be elected to office because it gives them fame, success, and power.
But if you noticed, when I talked about that movie, I mentioned how the king needed to lead, and to be someone people honored. Well, for better or worse, humans look to elected politicians the same way. As long as it’s possible to honor them, people love to look up to their leaders, to see them as somehow better than the rest of them (I have no idea why). Now of course some leaders accomplish great things and live with, well, at least mostly honorable behavior. And so their nations just love looking up to them forever! France will always have Napoleon, India will always have Mahatma Gandhi, England will always have Churchill, Israel will always have Golda Meir, the US will always have Lincoln, and so on.
But while they’re still alive, it’s harder. Part of what makes a leader successful is how he or she stands up to their opponents. And during their lifetime, those opponents tend to not be so crazy about that leader! So it makes sense that our leaders work extra hard to be seen as “the honor of the state,” even though they are the state’s servants!
I don’t know, aqib. Maybe they need to believe they’re special, in order to be willing to put up with all the awful parts of their job! That’s as good an explanation as I can give!