GRE Issue Essay 241
“Those who treat politics and morality as though they were separate realms fail to understand either the one or the other.”
One needs to first understand the meaning of politics and morality before judging whether they fall in separate realms or not. Politics is the set of rules or norms that are followed for running an establishment or a country. The society that we live in determines the standard code of conduct which is defined as morality and people tend to follow these norms if they wish to demonstrate a high moral code of conduct. Therefore, morality refers to the set of rules that determine our personal behavior. A careful understanding of the meaning of politics and morality makes it evident that each of these does affect the other. Therefore, if you choose to segregate morality and politics in different realms without letting either of them affect the other, then you will not be able to understand either of them.
Righteous conduct is defined by the norms of morality that have been set for us either by ourselves or by the society in which we live. If one chooses to keep morality away from the realm of politics, then it is evident that the decisions that have been taken in the realm of politics will probably not be correct and will lead to large scale discontent amongst the masses. The norms of morality have to be kept in mind while dealing with political issues because the population that is being governed by politics will appreciate the efforts of their leaders only if the leaders choose to stick to the moral values upheld by society.
Take for instance, the candidates who are fighting elections for a seat of power. The moral values held dear by the candidates will largely determine the votes that will fall in their favor. This is because the public knows that a person who is righteous will rarely take a political decision that will have adverse effects on the lives of common men. Moreover, there are certain moral values like compassion for the poor, an honest disposition, goodwill etc. which are desired in political leaders. A leader who displays such qualities will not take a hasty decision like going to war with a neighboring country and risking the lives of thousands of his countrymen. On the other hand, a leader who does not give due importance to moral values will not think twice before taking such a decision or before taking any other decision that may harm the interests of his countrymen. He will probably be more concerned about his own interests rather than the interests of the people who have elected him.
Money makes the world go around and politicians are no different. A politician in a seat of power may easily be lured into accepting bribes in exchange for taking decisions that harm the common man. This would not have been possible if the politician clearly understood the meaning of morality and its implications on the decisions taken in the realm of politics. One cannot choose to have high moral values when it comes to his family and decide to ignore the same moral values when he has to take political decisions. For instance, if one respects the elders in his family, he cannot choose to show disrespect for the elders in the society being governed by politics. This would imply that he has not understood the meaning of either morality or politics, both of which are essential for smooth functioning of the establishment or the body of people being governed by politics.
What is conscience? Our conscience is the aspect of our personality that determines how we behave in a particular situation. You need to have high moral values of honesty and integrity to fight against all forms of corruption irrespective of the monetary gains involved. This high level of moral values needs to be preserved even if you are in the political realm because then only can one be termed as a real leader. Hence, it is evident that one needs to accept the fact that politics and morality do not fall under different realms if he has to make decisions and choices that will spread goodwill and prosperity in the society.