During his life I turned to Nelson Mandela as the near solitary example of a politician who had made it to the political elite without conceding ground on his personal ethics. Most of his counterparts raced feverishly into a land of dangerous and condemnable solipsism that they then scratch and bite at each other in; in contention of power and personal well being. Mandela had the mental fortitude to stand against the misdirection, lies, sensationalizing and character smearing that are the weapons of choice for the corrupt and hollow men and women that comprise the political average. As far as I see it, the ‘leaders’ of our world fall immeasurably short of leading their people. In democratic systems it takes great character to lead, to be willing to do what you think is right in those common circumstances where that move will damage your personal popularity. It is the quality of a leader and a great person to be able to put your brothers and sisters before yourself. To the question of why politics can be so empty of strong, good people, I need only say that firstly the truth is never as influential as what people want to hear, and secondly most good people don’t want a career of dirty, underhanded and ruthless fighting. The type of infantile squabbling I have been happy, in my own life, to have left in my primary school playground.
But with the passing of one rare beacon of light in this darkest of lands, I have become aware of another. Jose Mujica, Uruguay’s humble President, seems to be a man who is ready to do what is required, a man who is willing to lead his people; to lead from the front. A man who seems to be trying to see and do what he can discern as right. I am happy that after the passing of the greatest example of what most politicians fail to be, we have at least one other leader of conscience. It seems we have at least one repudiation to the tyranny of the selfish and unwise men and women who claw their way to our elected positions of power.