Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Politics with heart - impossible?

With an election going on, I find myself wondering if politicians must be some kind of other species to survive in the parliamentary environment.

So much nastiness. Is it really necessary? Does it really help anyone?

I don't believe it does, but then I'm not really interested in politics. I'm far from likely to be a politician. In fact, I'm a dreamer.

Imagine, then, how I rubbed my eyes when I read this in Pico Iyer's amazing book, Sun After Dark : Flights Into the Foreign:

"If the Dalai Lama were a dreamer, it would be easy to write him off. In fact, he's an attentive, grounded, empirical soul whose optimism has only been bolstered by the breakthroughs achieved by his friends Desmond Tutu and Vaclav Havel. Havel, indeed, who became the first head of state to recognize the Dalai Lama, within thirteen hours of coming to power, has been a powerful spokesman for this new kind of statesmanship.

The politician of conscience, the Czech leader writes, need not have a graduate degree in political science, or years of training in duplicity. Instead, he may rely on "qualities like fellow-feeling, the ability to talk to others, insight, the capacity to grasp quickly not only problems but also human character, the ability to make contact, a sense of moderation."


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