IS THERE A U.S. POLITICIAN WILLING TO DIE FOR THEIR CONVICTIONS?
Are You Kidding!?
New York, New York (Dec. 28, 2007) In the middle of one of our quadrennial spend-and-lie-a-thons known as a presidential campaign, our attention is captured by an assassination half a world away. And it should be.
Returning to her native Pakistan after years of self imposed, (self preserving exile), the two time former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto was killed in Rawalpindi this past Thursday. She returned to Pakistan under the shaky auspices of a “power sharing deal” with the current leader of that country, Pervez Musharraf. The political turmoil has only increased since her return. As the national elections grew closer, many feared violence would mar the political process. The internal problems in Pakistan are of real concern for America since Pakistan has been an ‘ally’ in our war against terrorism. Neighboring Afghanistan is a hotbed of radical Islamic fundamentalists, the reconstituted Taliban and, of course, the stronger than ever, Al Qaeda. The United States has given billions of dollars in arms, aid and cash to Pakistan since September 2001. Their value as an ‘ally’ is arguable, dubious at best. Much of the Pakistani government and military share sympathies and ideology with those we fight against.
Benazir Bhutto was the eldest daughter of a former Prime Minister who was ultimately executed in 1979 for allegedly arranging the murder of a political rival. he was hung after a controversial trial that many outsiders saw as a sham. His daughter was forced to resign her office once in 1990 due to corruption and bribery charges. She was reelected in 1993 but, by 1996 was forced to resign again due to similar allegations. She was living in exile in Dubai since 1998.
Despite her history and the inherent dangers in Pakistan, particularly within the contentious, often deadly realm of Pakistani politics, she returned, facing incredible danger, to serve her people. Her belief in a democratic form of government and all that entails, was such a powerful motivation that she felt compelled to challenge her many rivals, those known and those in the shadows, in the hopes of making life better for the average Pakistani. She died for her cause.
We have not had a political assassination in America since John F. Kennedy was killed in 1963. We have not had effective government in America for at least the last 20 years. This is not to imply a connection between these two stark facts; just a couple of points of reference.
We are governed by politicians, not believers or legislators, not men and women with character, commitment, fundamental concepts about the public good or effective governance. Our elected leaders are proven liars, criminals, corrupted by power, money, influence and their own egos. They are not the best and brightest among us merely the best hustlers, operators and con artists money can buy. Oh, they can all talk one hell of a game, swindle money from fat-cat backers, special interest donors and every ilk of scumbag that moves in their circles. However, once in office they prove to be so profoundly inept, unmotivated, negligent, ignorant and arrogant that they become detached from reality.
Benazir Bhutto’s murder should not be used as a political tumbleweed in this campaign season but rather as a pointed reminder to those who seek higher office about what it takes to be a real and true leader. If only we had one presidential candidate with the courage of convictions, dedication to service and courage of Ms. Bhutto, we would have a president worthy of our respect and trust. We will probably never see such traits in an inhabitant of the White House. And for that sad fact, we should all mourn.
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