I guess we will no longer ask, “Why don’t you go into politics?” to every person we subjectively see ‘fit’ to strive as a politician.
Politics is neither a social vocation and service that anyone can do nor, as the well-intentioned think, is a super formula that will instantly put a country in good condition, when implemented by well-educated people. As every honest worker, a politician should also hold indispensable qualities such as selflessness, patriotism, love for people and nature, reasonable thinking, and obviously, awareness of moral principles and ability to act upon them.
Considering that all the evil doings throughout human history were committed by well-educated people, we see that the problem is not about the education in school, but rather about the education one receives from their parents, and their social environment. The ideal personality traits and virtues in a politician take shape when education is combined with good teaching. First, the parents must display honest and ethical behaviour so that their teaching can achieve its intended purpose.
However, a good educational background and strong virtues are not enough alone. Politics requires experience, especially practice in the field. You have to have the strength and the courage to warn a leader when those who advise him or her do not do the right thing. You have to embrace politics not as your career, but as a service to your people and your nation.
Obviously, one cannot become this virtuous and conscientious politician in one day. My latest podcast on my Spotify, titled “Crafting Politics”, explains that there are more important things to do than merely doing politics. Things will change when we realize that our most important problem is the absence of effective and useful policies, not politics, made up doctrines and getting away from scientific thinking. Things will change when we demand and work towards human development, not economic growth alone. We will have good and honest politicians serving our country when people start voting for administrations that govern with integrity, reason and a vision for the future, not for those who can help their voters gain unfair advantage.
“Do Not Look Down on Politicians”
When I was serving as the secretary general for the Turkish Football Federation, a politician offered me the position of mayor. So, I asked him, “Do you consider my job less important or less valuable than mayorship?” In my experience, people who believe that serving in politics is a more worthy job than serving people mistakenly think that others too are so eager to become a politician.
Fortunately, the person who made me that offer responded, “You’re right, I’ve never thought of it that way,” either out of politeness or because he was intelligent enough to drop the subject.
So, if people did justice to their job and knew how to enjoy doing it, or if they thought their job offers a promising career path, I believe that they would not see politics as a position or profession that looks down on people. Therefore, we should not underestimate or look down on the efforts of politicians, while not forgetting that politics should mean to serve the people.