By Shlomo Maital

Political cartoon:  Chris Riddell, Twitter

     Why, in our democracies, do we consistently love, vote for and choose, incompetent inexperienced bumbling leaders?  And pay a heavy price?

     Consider British PM Boris Johnson.  His former chief advisor Dominic Cummings blames Johnson for bungling COVID-19, with 125,000 deaths.  Johnson was a journalist.  He now runs Britain, and is more popular than ever, with an 80-seat majority, despite his ineptitude.

     Consider Donald Trump.  The US now crosses the COVID-19 600,000-deaths mark.  His cabinet was inept – appointed solely for blind loyalty, not skill.  Education Minister – solely for big bucks donation. Secretary of State – he ran an oil company.  Attorney General:  lied and spied, against the law, instead of enforcing the law.  Ever see the “Trump won” signs his followers post, this very day, in baseball stadiums? 

     Consider Jair Bolsinaro.  488,000 COVID-19 deaths, in Brazil, as this ex-army officer spurns public health measures.   True, his popularity is waning.  But – what did it take?

     Consider Hungary’s Viktor Orban.  Last April:  “With this week’s passage of a law effectively removing any oversight and silencing any criticism of the Hungarian government, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán can now rule by decree for an indefinite period of time.”  He won office, democratically.  Now, he chooses to destroy Hungary’s democracy, within an EU that seems impotent to stop him.  In fact he can veto many key EU decisions, that demand unanimity.

       And there are a whole lot more examples.  Canada’s handsome inexperienced young PM Justin Trudeau.  Canada is still mired in COVID-19, largely closed, vaccination is badly lagging….but, he was re-elected not that long ago, pre-COVID. 

       Samuel Earle, writing in the New York Times (Sunday June 12-13 2021), notes that “despite all the havoc the Conservatives have caused [in Britain], the party is in a stronger position forever.”  

        Why?    Why do we continue to love bumbling, incompetent, inexperienced, lying, corrupt leaders?  Why did Israel’s Netanyahu rule for the past four years, indicted for corruption, appointing incompetent ministers so they could not threaten him, dividing the country, and again and again, driving the nation to needless elections, rather than step aside gracefully?  And in polls, he still leads as the top choice for Prime Minister, though by a small margin.  And the party he leads still got 2 million votes in the last election.

       This has to stop.   We have to judge leaders based on competence.  We have to throw out leaders who prove incompetent.  A country is a business. It needs competent honest clean effective management.  It is morally wrong to love bunglers and to elect and re-elect them.  If we continue to do this, we will deeply wound democracy – perhaps fatally.