I always cringe when I hear people say in reference to politicians…”I don’t know if I can trust him.”
I think it is very naive, not to mention inappropriate, to look to politicians for moral leadership. Why do I say that? Well it is very simple when you think about it. Living by a cut and dry, universal standard of principles is simply NOT feasible, but it may also render him or her completely ineffective at their job. What is a politician’s job? Well I am glad you asked. A politician’s job is to build, maintain, and expand the wealth, prosperity and political influence of his nation, district, county, state or what have you. This is his or her primary concern. Many more times than you and I would like to think, realizing those goals require them to make choices that are outside the bounds of morality.
Moral leaders think in terms of a deontological approach to ethics and morals while the political leader thinks in terms of consequences or a utilitarian approaches to ethics and morality.
The politician does not think deontologically, he thinks in terms of consequences. He is a political animal. He must think act and react solely on consequences. His attention is on saving the nation not saving his or her soul. If killing Bin Ladin will make it safer for Americans to live overseas or within our borders then Bin Ladin is going to die. There is no question as to whether or not he should or shouldn’t kill him unless there is a question of whether or not it will benefit his constituents. So if you think he or she will stick to their word they won’t. If they ever accomplish what they say they are going to do it’s purely a coincidence that factors were such that permitted his or her wishes being accomplished. If your politicians says he will cut taxes and to “read his lips” and he ends up raising taxes don’t be upset about it, he most likely had to for the betterment of the nation. If you want moral leadership then look to people that live and think deontologically and are not forced into the tight spots politicians are placed into. Look to your parents and your religious leaders who can afford to live in a world where they believe they have all the answers but are also not responsible for the welfare and safety of millions.