Three leaders place their own interests over those of their constituents

Plain Rhetoric
By Bill McQuarrie
June 13, 2017 - 8:44am

KAMLOOPS — Three different political events these past few weeks have me wondering where we went wrong and where are we headed.

We have the Donald Trump and James Comey battles and the looming Russiagate. This followed quickly by British PM Theresa May and her post election (Brexit) disaster. And then there is our Premier’s current minority government state of affairs.

All three share a troubling and growing trend. A trend that seems to pay scant if any attention to the needs, concerns or rights of the people they have been elected to govern.

For example: Trump has been told by the former head of the FBI that there is absolutely no doubt Russia attempted to interfere with the American election. James Comey’s testimony at last week’s Senate hearing was a clear, concise and straightforward statement indicating Russia invested a tremendous amount of effort and resources in an attempt to influence the outcome of the American election.

Mr. Comey also indicated that there was no evidence to suggest that Donald Trump was in any way directly involved.

This was a clear warning to America by someone who is paid to know these things, yet the President was only interested in personal reputation. At no time did he or has he spoken of the dangers this poses to America or what steps he is taking to ensure the integrity of the American democratic process. It was an attack on his country yet he showed no interest.

In Britain, Prime Minister May gambled the future of her country in a self-serving attempt to consolidate personal political power. A gamble founded upon Brexit, a concept that she has personally found distasteful but thought politically opportune for her own self-interests.

Against the advice of many in her own party, she called an election three years sooner than needed and promptly reduced her majority government to one of a minority. The position of strength she sought was lost and with it, a credible and beneficial exit from the European Union was destroyed by her efforts.

Here in BC, Premier Clark gambled her future and that of her party and our province on a belief that charisma over substance will again win the day for her. Her belief was wrong, her strategy failed and, like Theresa May, she took her party from a commanding majority to that of a minority government.

A common characteristic of all three leaders has been their refusal to admit defeat or accept responsibility for what they have created. Two of them, May and Clark have attempted to hang onto power by building alliances with parties who share no common interests and at all other times are looked upon as distasteful and inept politicians.

Trump takes it a step further and at the peril of his country has no concept, understanding or interest in the fact that his country was (cyber) attacked by a foreign power. His only interest was and has been himself and on Monday went so far as to have his senior cabinet officials publicly proclaim their happiness with his leadership — something I would expect from North Korea but found both embarrassing and frightening when it was the supposed leader of the free world.

So where have we gone wrong? We allow leaders to place personal gain, power and fame ahead of everything else? We seem to accept decisions being made based on self-interest as opposed to national or provincial interest. And we seem to know it is wrong but continue to let it happen anyway.

Recent events have made me wonder where this personal pursuit of absolute power and extreme partisanship is taking us. More importantly though, why do some find it necessary and worse yet, accept it as the normal and ordinary behaviour for our leaders?