Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Dark Side of Politics


At the moment I'm reading "The Dark Side of Politics: The Personal Price of a Political Life" by Steve Paikin. I've only finished the first three chapter but the book is shaping up to be a pretty good read. I bought it at this bookstore in Kitsilano called the Book Warehouse for only $1.99.

So far, the book highlights the trials and tribulations of many political stars during the 1980 and 1990s. The author discusses how backstabbing, blackmail and lies are usual suspects in the lives of politicians (in case nobody actually knew that by now). Friends that a politician makes while in office are never actually "friends" in the true sense of the word and once you realize this life in office actually makes sense. Everyone is out to further their own careers, their own interests and their own ambitions, therefore, depending on people that one may call a "friend" will end up hurting you in the end.

Family life also suffers considerably. Members of parliament must settle for missing their child's birthday, graduation and other special occasions. Moving the family out to Ottawa seems like a good idea at first but they end up suffering from isolation and much disappointment. Marriages suffer or even terminate during the process.

With so many personal consequences that come with being in office, why run for office anyway? Most politicians featured in the book, after having served in office and suffering professional and personal blows during this period, promptly say they would do it all again. Maybe it's the intoxicating feeling of being at a podium and having everyone's attention, the way the audience applauds you, looks up at you and lingers after every word. That kind of life can certainly be seductive and alluring but the personal consequences, for me anyway, are too high.

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