decency and politics

Decency is, according to the dictionary, the “dignity in acts and words, according to the state or quality of the persons”. It is about “modesty, honesty, modesty, cleanliness and composure corresponding to each person…” Among the synonyms we can mention modesty, moderation, virtue, shame, decorum and honor. The opposite is constituted among others, by indecency, dishonor, rudeness and indignity. It seems to me that politics, in our world and of course in our country, lack higher levels of decency. I am one of those who believe that politics is a superior activity of the human being, which however requires greater decency. This is not something new, two thousand 400 years ago, Plato raised a true theory of the State, one that establishes that the actions of any government must be based on ethics and reason. A theory that assigns the State the task of being the “promoter of a dignified life” of people and that encourages them to achieve their purposes, their well-being, their happiness. Unfortunately, these principles are often not followed in reality.

Thus, it should not be surprising that, in any public opinion measurement exercise, the politics go badly off. The politicians, the parties and the activities that derive from their action, are very poorly qualified by the population. Nor should it be surprising that politics is often associated with wrongdoing: corruption, deception, fraud and falsehood. For this reason, we should be very concerned that the “good politician” is identified with lies and betrayal, with deceit and cynicism. It is true that it cannot be generalized, but also that the policy has to change. Otherwise, society will not be interested in politics and public affairs. It will be difficult to summon the best to form a government and it will be almost impossible to motivate the participation of the youth. With what authority can one be invited to participate in politics, when in many cases it has become a coven of selfishness, scandal and profit? If you want to encourage participation, the formation of citizenship and defeat abstentionism among many others, a profound change is required in the forms and in the substance of political and party life, in the behavior of politicians. For this reason, a different public morality is urgently needed, a renewed ethics among politicians and their institutions. Much more decency is urgently required!

In the task, one of the first steps is to regain the trust of society. For this, something immediate is the attachment and defense of the truth. The importance of this is such that, as Snyder has indicated, “to give up the facts is to give up the freedom”. We all have the obligation to avoid and combat fabrications and lies, to reject insistent and fallacious repetitions, to demand coherence and consistency in proposals, statements and reports. Everyone bears the responsibility that, however, is greater for those who participate in the public service and for graduates of higher education, even when no one is exempt from duty. Upon receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature, Camus pointed out that: “If one day the politician’s work approaches that of the writer and puts his work at the service of truth and freedom, that day politics will be different and the politician will have been saved. and it will have fulfilled”. That is why politics cannot be at the service of lies, servitude or authoritarianism. This is why, I insist, to move in the right direction, we require more, much more decency.

Former rector of UNAM.
Twitter: @JoseNarroR

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decency and politics