You want to ‘feel’ safe. You want decent schools and transportation. Local ‘law’ enforcement and national armed forces are essential. ‘Regulating’ for the ‘public good’ can be assigned to your elected representatives. They oversee public projects, laws and expenditures. A fair, effective judiciary upholds laws safeguarding individual rights. You hope elements of government coalesce effectively with a minimum of ‘waste’. Squandering resources is frowned on. You ‘hold to account’ those in government who enrich themselves from public coffers or ‘outside interests’. Greed can motivate:  Monetary ‘rewards’ for favors and future lofty positions in a company are attractive. Those seeking ‘high office’ may also be obsessed with gaining power, ‘influence’ and adulation. Inflated egos can be convinced their ‘superiority’ gives them the ‘right’ to ‘dictate’ goals and policies. You respect dynamic individuals who ‘get things done’ but you also hope they truly ‘care’. You attribute a certain amount of wisdom and intelligence to those making decisions which effect you and yours. You give them ‘latitude’ accepting foibles even mistakes. Government will never solve all problems. But you place much trust in it. What choice do you have?

Polemics abound decrying various forms of government. To paraphrase one cogent criticism:  Democracy is a rotten form of government but the best so far devised. Probably the one criterion that distinguishes an effective, humane ‘ruling body’ is its consistency in safeguarding individual rights … liberty. In so doing a nation can encourage and expect all its citizens to develop talents and skills … each person allowed to realize his or her potential. Prosperity becomes more ubiquitous when most are participating in positive pursuits. A government that denies or restricts certain groups … denigrating for whatever reason … undermines opportunity … obliterates expectations. Discontent roils constantly. Grievances lead to agitation and revolt. Some countries are in a constant state of turmoil. Young people are ‘martyred’. A vicious, destructive cycle of recriminations ensues.

Terrorism … civil wars … these can be overcome by encouraging respect and justice for all citizens. As the Dalai Lama exhorts:  Active compassion is the ‘key’. Peace and prosperity can emerge as compassionate individuals participate in representative government. Worldwide communication is provoking change. The most ‘deprived’ people have access to discourse and alternatives. They are demanding change. They want hope and realistic expectation of ‘a better life’. ‘Governments’ ‘round the globe are being told:  “Give peace a chance!!”  And when a country finds peace within itself it will embrace peace worldwide.

One last suggestion:  Ban all demagogues and lawyers from government. Their eloquence most often obfuscates their true agenda.



©2007-2008 Edwin O'Shea and All or part of only one topic, including all definitions and essay, may be used without written permission. Please see full copyright notice on home page.