The Malta Independent 22 August 2019, Thursday

What’s in it for me?

Victor Calleja Sunday, 11 August 2019, 09:16 Last update: about 11 days ago

Trump, Johnson, Salvini, Erdogan, Bolsonaro, Duterte, Orban. The list is endless. A collection of politicians no mad man, woman, or joker on hallucinogenic substances, could have conjured up.

Populists all, madly followed by their supporters both at home and abroad. And all wielding their power in the most nefarious of ways.

They are all a result of our democracy. The same democracy which gives us our rights and freedoms can be manipulated by the worst rogues. After all, Hitler, before these rogues were even conceived, was catapulted to power by a relatively free electorate.

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Democracy by its own definition gives us the freedom to choose any candidate, however anti-democratic or liberty-bashing they might be. This is one of the paradoxes of democracy: the ability to turn it  on its head.

Which is exactly what these rogues in power are doing right now all over the globe. Not caring for the common good by looking after our environment and life in general. Subverting at all costs the real and true spirit of liberty for their own, or their close buddies’, sakes. They are in politics to make their life cushy come what may—and in so doing they facilitate all the rogues who help keep them in power with money, brawn and manipulative means.

The present is bleak, the future dark and scary. And, although it was better, the past has not been a truly golden age. The post-war years were superlatively good and peaceful but they also had their horrors.

The cold war was a terrible thing to live through and a part of our good times did come at the expense of not caring enough about the environment. Most of the original tree-huggers and nuke-protestors were seen as Maoists or loons from the funny farm. Politicians were hardly the best saints around; more like rogues but on a leash, unlike the present ones who have no values, no backbone and are definitely unleashed.

The new way of the world and its new politicians’ only allegiance is to the best-paying lobbyists whose only aim is to make more cash at any cost for the group they represent.

The new breed of politician, or at least the most successful and powerful one, cares little about true democracy. How else would they be so blind to climate change and all the ravages our society is going through or soon to be going through?

Even with the economies of the world mostly booming there are still people who are deprived of homes, proper food and water and education.

Denial of the ravages of our climatic situation is tantamount to treason of the highest order—especially faced with reports of melting icecaps and ravaging fires from Siberia to Alaska.

These soulless politicians use democracy, and its pivots like freedom of expression and elections, to cling on to power. To help them and their cronies and satellites reach power or join get-rich-quick schemes.

This sounds like a description of some bad dream. Our own living nightmare. Yet it is a reality and the reality of crooked politicians is spreading like the Siberian wildfires. It’s like a cancer, buried deep down in us and yet there taking over and turning us all into sheep happily led to the slaughter. And most of us chant hallelujah to our new political overlords and our sated living.

Where does all this place us in sunny old Malta where the living is easy?

We too are like the rest of the world. We too have a rogue who lords it all. We, or the huge majority of them, are in awe of Joseph Muscat and vote him in in record numbers. We vote for him and rogues like him: rogues beget rogues and the non-rogues are worse because they are silent. And if silent, complicit. They who stand and let the rot happen are as rotten as the culprits.

The less people speak about the trees that are felled, land that is destroyed, congestion that turns us all into stressed-out wrecks, corruption that is rampant, the more the rogues turn to roguery and plunder.

Hitler, Johnson, Salvini and even Trump were not voted in by a huge majority. Trump got 3 million less votes than Hillary Clinton and Hitler back in the 1930s was only voted in by about 30%. That percentage is nearly as much as Salvini, our neighbouring bully, garnered. Johnson, the other bully, hasn’t even been tested in an election.

On the contrary our Joseph Muscat wins every time he takes on an opponent. Truly Invictus!

The scorn on his face—why has his old easy smile turned so oddly scornful?—might reflect what he feels internally. Everything seems easy for the man, his cabinet, his party apparatchik and all the rest having the fill of their life of ill-gotten gains and unmerited appointments.

Joseph Muscat, because he is a true believer—no not in democracy but in his own grandiose self and standing—would delight in being compared to the big populist guns of the world. So I have just paid him and his odd followers a huge compliment by putting him on a pedestal with the demagogues rampant in the world.

Like all the other demigods ruling over us he too is like Teflon-man and nothing wrong about him sticks. Actually, he even manages to turn the wrong into good stuff for his followers to glorify. Like all Teflon men and women our premier has the Midas touch. But did Midas enjoy his golden touch? Was he ever happy inside his own—darkened—soul?

Like many other worldwide democracies, Malta is enjoying a good economic boom but suffering a democratic crisis. May the whole world wake up soon from its nightmare and win back part of its soul.

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