Friday, March 14, 2008

How different are we from Americans?

-by KParthasarathi Friday, March 14, 2008

The news report about New York Governor Eliot Spitzer stepping down from the state's top office because of a moral indiscretion set me thinking on the high standard of probity and character the people there expect of their leaders. They would not allow the "private failings to disrupt the public's work.” The announcement of resignation has come when there are mere allegations and no formal charges framed. He had a high reputation as a ‘scourge' of white collar crime. In his announcement he had stated that”Over the course of my public life, I have insisted -- I believe correctly -- that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself."
Compare this with what we are accustomed to hearing from our politicians here like "the law will take its own course" or 'this is only an allegation and no charges have been proved" or “this is politically motivated" and so on and so forth.
In a country like US that has considerable number in live-in relationship, the number of children born out of wedlock in some states being large , where premarital sex is common and the number of gays quite high and where society is more liberal and permissive in matters of sex, the people strangely employ very high standard of personal character to judge their leaders. The yardstick to judge their leaders is different from what they use to judge themselves. They do not tolerate even a minor deviation from accepted values in their leaders. They expect their leaders to live the values they espouse. They attach importance to 'family values'. Leaders need not have to be intelligent or efficient. They could have failed to achieve what they had promised. The people would tolerate or overlook all these failings but when it comes to moral turpitude or corruption they come with a heavy hand on their leaders. They would not hesitate even to impeach their Presidents if need be. The issues are publicly discussed in the media providing no scope for the culprits to hide behind a veil of secrecy. The media too revels in splashing such stories without fear being censored or controlled by government.
It saddens my heart that we are compelled to suffer tainted politicians accused of gravest crimes in positions of power and influence. Justice grinds very slowly in their cases with several hurdles thrown in the way to prevent the judiciary from performing speedily their duty. Political considerations and not ethical grounds weigh against permitting the progress of cases to logical end. Highest executives exempt themselves from the rigours of law through special dispensation.
It is high time that public and NGOs are vigilant and on the alert to ensure that their leaders are upright and men of sterling character. This requisite should be non-negotiable.

1 comment:

  1. you have given the message clearly:low expectations in terms of morality result in people of tainted characters.