Democracy has many virtues: its greatest weakness however is that it produces politicians rather than statesmen.
When power is vouchsafed to the continuing popularity of the leader, that leader will always be looking over his shoulder to make sure that he still has the support of his power-base. He seeks the advice of spin-doctors to make palatable the compromises that bought his election support. His media image is as, if not more, important than the content of his policies. His every word and move reflect his dependence on the electorate.
In Britain in the twentieth century, two people come to mind who managed to climb above petty-politicking and ascend to the level of statesmanship: Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. Interestingly both owed their initial power-base to the Jewish vote. Churchill started his political career as Member of Parliament for Manchester North West where the Jewish vote was significant, and Mrs. Thatcher’s parliamentary seat was East Finchley in London, a predominantly Jewish electorate.
I well remember the “Iron Lady’s” classic October 10th, 1980 speech, when faced with soaring unemployment from 1.5 million to 2 million within the space of a year. “The Lady’s not for turning,” said she. And Churchill’s indomitable spirit of resistance put heart and backbone into a nation standing alone against the vicious and merciless Hun.
The Talmud (Sanhedrin 97a) says about the generation of Mashiach, “The face of the generation is the face of a dog.”
When you see someone taking his dog for a walk, the dog will often run out in front of his master, but he will be constantly looking behind him to see in which direction his master is going. The dog may be in front, but there’s no doubt who’s following whom.
Moshe sought from
- Sources: based on the Beit Yitzchak in the name of Rabbi Moshe Mendel; Rabbi Yisrael Salanter as seen in Lekach Tov