Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Aguilar: Politicians and their values

Against the current

VALUES are always the best indicators whether the (aspiring) leader is a good one or not. And no cover-up can ever hide such truth because it can always be seen at plain view. It’s just most of the time we deliberately ignore the signs right in front of us.

If personal values become our measure in choosing whom to vote then we can never go wrong. Let me give you an example, a politician who wears Louis Vuitton from head to foot in the midst of poverty in his or her area is forthright insensitive to the plight of his people. It is not even a question of whether he or she can afford one, but just whether he or she empathizes with our daily struggles.

Another indicator would be the kind of car the politician drives. Public office is a public trust. Indeed, when one is installed in an office he has to project power and authority to carry out his duty which extends to the kind of car he drives. Every official should drive a decent car. But if he or she chooses the high end luxury cars at the expense of people's money then that indicates that our welfare is not at the top of his or her priorities. I mean what else could better explain that.

Perhaps we can learn from the values of last three popes we had in the Catholic hierarchy, the values that our leaders should possess.

Pope John Paul II – Pope John Paul II was shot four times 1981 by Mehmet Ali Agca at the Vatican City while he was entering the square. The assassin was captured and sentenced to life in prison by an Italian court. But the Pope later forgave Agca for the assassination attempt and then he was pardoned by the Italian president at the Pope's request. It was clear for the Pope what he values, and however incomprehensible it is to all of us, he showed mercy and forgiveness.

Pope Benedict XVI – The papacy is by far the highest political office anyone could ever hold. Its power and influence extends to all Catholics all over the world and impacts strongly in politics and economics as well. Yet when he found in his prayer and discernment that he will be a better Christian if he steps down from office and spends his time in solitude and prayer, he stepped down without flinching an eye. His values surely go beyond the glare of power and influence. In our local scene, we knew for a fact that even barangay chairmanship is so coveted that people would even resort to killing just to keep their posts. How much more in our national politics?

Pope Francis – Our current pope, a Jesuit, is quite unorthodox as he is perhaps the only pope that does not have an image of a statesman. He is simple and quiet and reserved. And yet, if we look closer, he is one great leader precisely because of that - simple. When he was installed in office, he stripped the Vatican off with its usual flare and grandeur. From its usual glare of gold accessories that projects glamor, Pope Francis made everything simple and inexpensive. To his end, the church should set an example of simplicity so that others may simply live.

This brings me back to my original point. You want a good politician? Look at his values.


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