As we get older our view of life is shaped by the added experiences we have. A new prime minister is no longer a cause for excitement or expectation. We’ve seen it all so often before. Nor do our leaders in terms of Parliaments seem to improve. The current situation in the US is an example of the lack of understanding the leaders there seem to have of the importance of their actions. Countries no longer exist in isolation yet there seems to be a complete disregard for the international ramifications of their behaviour. Neither leadership nor governance seem to improve even though we constantly expand and add to our knowledge base. To make matters worse I have just read the story of Bo, the Chinese leader who has recently been discredited. Given the huge and increasing impact this country is having on the world there is little hope for improvement there.
As countries get richer, and the people who live in them improve their standard of living, there seems to be an increase in selfishness which does not bode well for the future of the world. Not only are we using an ever-increasing amount of the world’s irreplaceable resources but more and more people want more and more for themselves, rather than regarding the small area where we live, the bigger area of our town or city, our country or the world as an area which is one which we need to take care of. This includes the people, the resources and the flora and fauna all of which contribute to the whole. This whole is our planet on which the survival of all of us, and that of those who come after us, depends.
Do our leaders think in these terms or do they only think in terms of the narrow world around them? Are their colleagues seen as part of what they want to achieve in terms of personal power and wealth or do they regard themselves as, together with people with similar power in other countries, custodians of the earth? I sometimes think that those with access to either power or money, which tend to go together, seem to have a firm belief (bet) that there is no afterlife in which they will have to account for what they have done in this one. Nor do they seem to realise that the earth needs to support life long after they have finished with it.
Meanwhile the rest of us are in the hands of those we have elected, if we live in a democracy, or have thrust upon us if we don’t. If we do have a choice it seems to boil down to the extent of the need for power and wealth of those offering themselves for election. Are we ever offered policies aimed at making the earth a more comfortable place for all, in terms of access to the necessities of life, not just those who have the ability to accrue wealth, which they take off others but to everyone?
We see it all year after year, election after election. Meanwhile our planet deteriorates and those who live on it have less and less personal peace. Can we older people contribute to bringing some higher ideals to our leaders?