Politics has never been a favourite topic of mine. However, given the political lies and cover-ups, not to mind arrogance, party before people and personal gain before national gain that we have been exposed to before and since the onset of the recession and the banking crisis, I believe everyone in Ireland, including myself, have become more politically conscious. Certainly, we cannot afford to put the type of politician into power whose immature personal qualities have been part and parcel of the major downturn in Ireland’s social and economic fortunes. What is very clear is that it was not the Fianna Fail government that landed us in such an appalling state; it was individual government politicians. It is never a system – political, social, economic or religious – that perpetuates neglect; it is always an individual. Systems are created by individuals and it is other individuals that conform and collude with a system. A system has no head or heart; how can I talk to a system that needs to be challenged and changed? Change is only possible through individuals and those individual political leaders and those who head the various civil service departments need to be held accountable for their professional decisions and actions. It is worrying that, whilst individual politicians have been massively challenged – and rightly so – it appears to me that those governors of civil service departments have not been called to examine their tenure in office. After all, over the last four months, whilst all the politicians – those in and out of office – have been tending to their own political survival – the country has continued to be run or run-down by civil servants.
What is very clear is that there has been little declaration of ‘mea culpa’ by individual government politicians; neither has there been such authenticity and accountability by individual bankers. What is of great concern is that many of those leaders are still in power, as are many of the heads of government and local government bodies. But, at least, on February 25th we have an opportunity to change the panel of individuals who govern our country. What is important is that we don’t vote for a party – Fine Gael, Labour, Greens, Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail – we need to vote for individuals who show maturity. A politician who possesses a solid interiority, who is not addicted to power or status, who is independent of how others see him or her, who operates from a centred, authentic, real and genuine place of care of self and others and is responsible and accountable to what he says and does would not engage in the narcissism, greed, lies, cover-ups, cosy-cartels that has infested the members of the outgoing government. However, make no mistake about it, these behaviours are also present in members of non-government parties.
I understand and I truly believe that those individual politicians, civil servants, bankers and other business leaders who plummeted the country into the present social and economic abyss did so unconsciously. However, a consciousness of the hidden roots of these dark responses has not been forthcoming and the very powerful unconscious defence of denial is maintaining this lack of accountability. When consciousness does emerge, a responsibility and an accompanying accountability follows, and it is for those individuals I would vote. We all make mistakes – but it is the mature individual who admits the mistakes, examines the process – personal and systemic – that led to these mistakes and finds ways of learning and progressing from their personal and political blunders. When individual politicians have not learned to govern self, how can they even remotely effectively and affectively govern a country?
I do also have grave concerns about some members of the opposition parties who spend so much of their time blaming their government peers and not employing more of their intelligence, creativity and time and energy on devising ways of getting us out of the economic hole we are in. Indeed, ‘mudslinging’ is a common phenomenon among politicians and hasn’t anybody told them that it is a serious sign of personal and professional immaturity? Blaming emerges from another powerful unconscious defence mechanism known as projection and I certainly would hesitate to give my vote to a political candidate whose sights are on what other politicians have or have not done, rather than on examining his or her own level of personal maturity and fitness to govern. When individual politicians have not learned to govern self, how can they even remotely effectively and affectively govern a country?
The mature qualities of self to look for in the individuals who are seeking your all important vote are:
- Genuineness (no pretence)
- Authenticity (no hedging questions)
- Independence (no looking over their shoulder)
- Responsibility (no ‘passing the buck’)
- Accountability (no blaming the system)
- Transparency (no cover-ups)
- Compassion (no heartless decisions)
- Decisiveness (no endless waffling)
- Directness (no ‘beating about the bush’)
- Clarity (no ‘political spin’)
Vote, then, for maturity, not for ‘personalities’, not for traditional reasons and certainly not for ‘party’.
Dr. Tony Humphreys is a Clinical Psychologist/Author, National and International Speaker. His recent book with co-author Helen Ruddle, Relationship, Relationship, Relationship: The Heart of a Mature Society is relevant to today’s topic.