By Miles Bett
Douglas Adams once said, in his book The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, "Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should, on no account, be allowed to do the job." I can't help but feel the truth in this statement while reading the news this past week, but in a much broader sense. To me, this idea is in fact applicable to all politicians.
Take those who comprise our own government. They are the most powerful people in the world, and yet they came an inch away from shutting the entire country down over a dispute involving several billion dollars out of trillions total. Not much, all things told. Next, look at former president Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivory Coast, a man who was voted out of office months back yet who was still in office just a few days ago. These two instances are worlds apart, but are linked in a fundamental manner. The subjects of both are, with a touch of bluntness, children.
I don't necessarily mean these politicians run around with sticks, though it does put war in a new perspective. I mean that Gbagbo and our government are certain kinds of children. Gbagbo was a possessive child with a toy. They do not want to share and they do not want to pass on their position of power when it is time. A leader's toy is power, and they rarely want to let that go. Gbagbo had to pass his power on in November when Mr. Ouattara won the presidential election. He didn't want to. It has taken five months and over a thousand dead in order to see Gbagbo pass over his ‘toy." Even then he had to be taken by force. In short, he had a terrible and extreme tantrum.
U.S. politicians are just as dismaying. I saw an MSNBC headline that read, "Lawmakers Disagree Over Why They Can't Agree." I know I'm not the only one that laughed at this, but am I the only one that sighed as well? Think back on the days when we were small and used "you smell because you do" or "you're wrong because you are" arguments. Now I fondly look back on that innocence, -- we all should -- but I do not look fondly on the leaders of our nation using what is more or less the same rhetoric. Simply put, they need to use their years and do what our parents taught us to do when we were small people: don't let it get out of hand in the first place.
That is the problem with power, and those who have it. They want that new toy and the moment they have it they will not want to let it go, no matter how childish they end up looking.