Given the current stories and headlines that have made our way in recent times, we’re not really sure whether such a notion that politics can actually be a good thing and can be used to bring about positive changes is something that is feasible. Rather than seeing people use influence and politics for the greater good, too often what we often hear (and to a certain degree, are often used to hearing) is that politics is just plain dirty. That nothing good can come out of politics and that our politicians cannot be trusted
Personally though, I do believe otherwise. I do believe the one reason that our political and judicial system breaks down and lacks the credibility and influence that it promises to do for its people is because of greed and self-seeking interests. To make societal gains and improvements, one has to put aside his or her own selfish interests off the table and start looking at the matter differently. In fact that’s what making a difference is all about, because making a difference starts by NOT looking at yourself anymore, but looking at others. The moment one starts looking at making a difference for the general public along with the eye of making a quick buck or gaining some sort of personal advantage, it becomes distorted.
However at the same time, while politics can lead up to corruption and selfish gains, with the right framework and objective, politics and influence can also be used to serve the greater good. We often hear that “with great power comes great responsibility” to comment on a fact that power can lead one to do great things or terribly horrible things. If one is able to use his or her influence and politics for the greater good, not necessarily to implement policies that are people friendly per-say, but to actually use policies to see beyond just temporal gains, but rather have a lasting contribution and begin a generational transformation that would bring about greater changes for the public well-being, I personally believe these things can help about bring greater changes in society.
Politics, especially when equipped with a proper vision (that is fair and just) and good principles can actually bring about positive changes in a society. I am not advocating communism here by any way, although I do concede that it’s very tempting to see it given what I have written so far. However I do believe in captialism and I do belive that capitalism and the private sector do have a role in building up the framework of the economy. What I am really trying to advocate is that we need good goverance here, with politics that is not ruled by corruption and personal gain, but by proper vision and good guiding principles.
As an aside, it makes sense why sometimes we experience poor public service whenever we engage in governmental agencies. Because governmental agencies are aimed at serving the greater good, alot of public servants find a lack of motivation and hence end up perfoming half-baked jobs. These servants (not all of them) are inward looking – seeing what they can get from the government rather than looking at it the other way around – what can I do to serve my government better?
I found this lecture by Robert Reich particularly useful when writing this article : http://webcast.berkeley.edu/event_details.php?webcastid=9907