It is very difficult to know what most of our politicians really believe in. The beliefs of most of our politicians seem to change with changes to their personal circumstances.
For instance, what does Chishimba Kambwili really believe in? What principles are his politics based on? One doesn’t need a very long memory to recall the things Kambwili used to say a few months ago when he was part of the leadership of the Patriotic Front and its government. Contrast that with what he is saying today!
What about Miles Sampa? What principles is Miles pursuing in politics? His political beliefs seem to change with every mile he moves.
Vladimir Lenin said, “There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel.” And Napoleon Bonaparte said, “In politics, an absurdity is not a handicap.” The word ‘politics’ is derived from the word ‘poly’, meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’, meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi said “politics without principle” to justly dictate the action creates chaos, which ultimately leads to violence.
Politics is literally defined as, “The struggle in any group for power that will give one or more persons the ability to make decisions for the larger group.” And Mohandas Gandhi defined principle as, “the expression of perfection, and as imperfect beings like us cannot practice perfection, we devise every moment limits of its compromise in practice.”
It is said that political ideas are worthless if they are not inspired by noble, selfless sentiments. Likewise, noble sentiments are worthless if they are not based on correct, fair ideas. Politics without principles is not only useless, but also dangerous. And if one mixes ethical values with a spirit of rebellion and rejection of injustice, you begin to appreciate and place a high value on a number of things that other people don’t value at all. A sense of personal dignity, honour and duty form the main foundation that enables people to acquire political consciousness.
The ability to reason, think, analyse, meditate, and develop feelings is what makes it possible to acquire progressive, revolutionary ideas.
A new and complex era as this one requires principles more than ever. And going against principles is a very, very serious matter that is not remedied by one simply saying, ‘I am sorry.’ It is easy to forgive tactical errors because everyone makes them.
By developing a sense of respect for others and a concern for their welfare, we reduce our own selfishness, which is the source of all problems, and enhance our sense of kindness, which is a natural source of goodness.
The prime mover of every human action is motivation. Our motivation should be simple and sincere. Whether we achieve the goal or not does not matter as long as our motivation is very sincere and we make the attempt.
Human beings are social creatures, and a concern for each other is the very basis of our life together. Since the beginning and end of our lives, we are so dependent on each other’s kindness. How can it be that in the middle, we neglect kindness towards others?
The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.
Our doings and sayings must be motivated by compassion for others. The way to acquire that kind of outlook is to accept the simple fact that whatever we desire is also desired by others. Genuine compassion must be acting on the basis of respect, and the realisation or recognition that others also, just like ourselves, have the right to be happy.
To experience genuine compassion is to develop a feeling of closeness to others combined with a sense of responsibility for their welfare. True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Once you have pure and sincere motivation, all the rest follows. You can develop this right attitude towards others on the basis of kindness, love and respect, and on the clear realisation of the oneness of all human beings. By showing concern for other people’s welfare, sharing other people’s suffering, and helping other people, ultimately one will benefit. If one thinks only of oneself and forgets about others, ultimately one will lose.
If we adopt a self-centered approach to life by which we attempt to use others for our own self-interest, we might be able to gain temporary benefit, but in the long run, we will not succeed in achieving even our personal happiness. Our daily thoughts and actions should be directed towards the benefit of others. Political life, of course, requires an ethical foundation, but everything in life should be pursued from a moral basis.