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Ethical politics

Feb 23,2014 - Last updated at Feb 23,2014

Politicians, as we all know, do not have to abide by the rules of “ethical” politics. In fact, if anything, they pride themselves on their lack of ethics in pursuing national interests, party interests or religious interests.

But it perplexes me how we, the people, have suddenly become politicians discarding our ethics and value systems for the purpose of pursuing “political considerations”.

Examples are aplenty.

Jordan’s “impartiality” in Syria is probably the one that vexes me most. There are no political choices — in my eyes — where Syria is concerned.

The Syrian people sought to free themselves from the dictatorship of narrow self-interest and stark sectarianism perpetuated by a bloody regime that put itself above all other sects in the country and gave itself privileges beyond its political or demographic weight.

Yes the “divisions” among the opposition have created a leadership vacuum and opened the floodgates for political opportunists, religious zealots, foreign agents, murderers and thieves.

The vested interest of the world and regional “superpowers” allowed for a new map, and they are dividing the spoils among themselves.

Yes, we are afraid of “armed fundamentalists” changing our way of life and imposing unfounded and impractical governance systems. Yes, sectarianism narratives have become more pronounced. But ethically, is it all right that a dictatorship continue to rule with petrol barrels, torture and arms, just so that our lives remain “comfortable”?

This is an ethical question, not a political one. We all know the political answers, but what are the ethical answers?

The other issue, predictably, where politics appears to override ethical considerations, is the nationality right for children of Jordanian mothers married to foreigners.

Yes, I know, it is becoming an annoying debate. People have already entrenched themselves on one side or the other and feel that any further debate is a waste of time.

But it is annoying that people should take sides based on political considerations.

The debate appears to be stuck on the political impact of granting rights to this segment of the population, but is it an ethically and morally acceptable position from “the people”?

I am not saying the government here. I am questioning the value system of these self-appointed politicians who argue based on “political risk” rather than integrity and honour.

Would it follow that allowing democratic evolvement and increased self-rule in Jordan is also “politically risky”, and therefore should be abandoned? And with it elections, both at council level and Parliament?

Should we limit education to elite groups in the population because educating all Jordanians would empower them, which is “politically risky”?

Where do we stop? And should we allow ourselves to be selective in how we perceive political events?

True political maturity requires that the people push for more freedoms and rights for themselves (collectively and based on international standards).

“The people” should not don a political cloak and speak of “national interest” when they are, in fact, covering up their “unethical” bias and fears.

The above are only two examples — the starkest in our current political history — but if we try to put our ethical glasses on and start looking around us and measuring our positions with a yardstick of human rights, respect for the free will of others — other nations as well as other population subgroups — and their God-given right to stability, then maybe we can start the ball rolling towards true political participation, as organically grown pressure groups and political parties, which can use the democratic system to pressure the “unethical” government into adopting “ethical” policies.

As we stand, we seem to be in a quest to compete with the government to quell and quash the “other”.

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