Thanks for not being a mental murderer

2010-10-14 11:55
As a professional polemicist, I guarantee that this is a premise with which nobody takes issue. Even the lowliest strain of spite-fuelled imbecile will be nodding at their monitors in agreement.

"Totally," they’ll think as they absently scratch drying bits of breakfast off their cheeks, their jowls growing heavy with drool as all neurons divert to keeping their watery eyes in focus. "People are fucking retarded. LOL!"

This is because, much like bad driving, nobody thinks stupidity is an accusation that can be levelled at them, despite all evidence to the contrary. Each and every one of us thinks we’re the proverbial one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind (but the world’s stupidity has to come from somewhere, right? I mean, we can’t all be exceptions).

It’s this solipsistic perception – probably the result of some primitive survival instinct, or something – that has shaped this sentient species into nearly seven billion cocooned control freaks, each and every one of us thinking, "I wish the world would just come to its senses and solve all its problems by giving me absolute power."

Here’s a fantasy we’ve all indulged, but have you noticed that every time you idly play the if-I-ruled-the-world game, you end up thinking either like a draconian prison warden or a particularly psychotic parent? You do? Good. Me too.

Depending on my sugar and caffeine levels at the time, I’d either confiscate all guns, or give a free gun to everyone, to be carried at all times (see what I did there?). Due to popular demand, I’d bring back abortion and the death penalty, but only on condition that a race-based quota system be applied to both – which will probably end that debate right there. I’d also award a homeland to anyone who asked for one, on condition that they never leave, not even for rugby games.

And all that money we spend on the military? That’s going towards building a Star Trek-style galaxy class spaceship so we can travel the universe, find superior intelligence, and surrender immediately. That would be best for all of us, I think, since we obviously don’t have the people skills required for good leadership, and in this scenario, I would have just proved that, right there.

But other desktop leaders are just as bad. I know a few people who would like to implement public floggings and executions. My own mother would like to throw every drug addict in jail for life (is this because of, or despite the fact that she gave birth to an alcoholic, I wonder?).  And of course, almost everyone wants to ban something, which is about as good an idea as unbanning everything.

So when an even moderately competent leader hops onto the podium, the rest of us see him (usually 'him') as something super-human. "Hooray!" we cry. "Here’s a dude who’s not going to end up killing us!"

It’s as simple as that, really. All we want is a leader who’s not going to kill us. And in return, that leader will go down in history as a hero, win prizes for promoting world peace and idolised by future generations as an example of human saintliness. Why? Because he didn’t try to kill us. That’s all.

Leaders who wouldn’t kill us when convenient are about as rare as people who say "just one drink" and have one drink. The US have it so bad they’re down to choosing the presidential candidates who looks like he’s going to kill people the least.

Back home, we have a president who might not have killed anyone while in office (yet), but he makes up for this with his penis, his shady deals and some scary friends, who could very well kill us if given the chance. Before him, there was the diminutive mass murderer with his insane anti-antiretroviral policy, and before democracy was that endless string of lipless pinkskins with death in their hearts.

And on the cusp of the Rainbow Nation is our local hero, idol and saviour – a worldwide symbol for peace and reconciliation. And what, you may ask, elevated this ordinary man to deistical status? The fact that he didn’t try to kill us. He said he wouldn’t, we elected him, and – would you believe it – he didn’t. Sure, he’s also a snappy dresser with a friendly face and knows how to get his dance on, but all of this would have paled into insignificance if he had not lived up to his promise of a murder-free presidency.

Yes, when it comes to leadership, our standards are pretty goddamn low. So if the world’s most idolised living leader is hoping that Conversations with Myself will do anything to dampen his saintly image, he’s shit out of luck. I wouldn’t care if he listed head-butting baby rabbits to death as one of his hobbies. While in power, he didn’t even slaughter the people who really, really deserved it. And we all know from our own megalomaniac fantasies how brilliant that is. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.