BY ALEX P. VIDAL
If Plato is on our right side and Socrates on our left today, we will run for a higher public office.
Against moneyed opponents, our candidacy of course will die a natural death, given the spiraling cost of election campaign any modern candidate is doomed to submit himself to under the present squalid electoral system.
Even if we win the poll debate and succeed in imparting in the minds and hearts of voters our platform of government, our efforts as candidate would be an exercise in futility, a stab to the Milky Way.
Elections are won in the ballots, not in the debate; not in the Agora where the best minds stampede to discuss existentialism, dialectic materialism and laissez faire, including the morality of buying –and auctioning– an expensive sports car for head of state at a time when rice and digestive system don’t meet.
Bare-footed Socrates’ “Socratic Method” has been one of the best instruments to acquire knowledge and mass support. Judge the man by his question rather than his answer. He would have been an instant hit in the Facebook today despite his face.
We envision the leader of Plato’s ideal republic to be a philosopher-king, combining all the moral and intellectual virtues, and possessing both philosophical and practical wisdom.
The qualities that we look for in a political leader are much the same now as they have always been.
In our city, the mayor is under seige; left and right he is being bludgeoned by criticisms levelled by media personalities symphatetic to his erstwhile friend and former newspaper boss (the mayor used to write a column in the newspaper).
It is now a common knowledge that the mayor and businessman are at each other’s throats over certain deals judging from the high-strung activities of their respective fans in media who have been swapping scud missles these past weeks, although both gentlemen have become denial kings in as far as their cold war is concerned.
With the next elections still not visible in the calendar, it will be a long agony for the mayor and a true test to his political stamina and survival instinct.
In order to nip his critics in the bud, the mayor must be interested primarily in the good of the community rather than in his own advancement. He must have sound practical judgment and whatever special skill and knoweldge is required for a particular task.
He must have decisiveness and the courage to take the risk of being wrong or becoming unpopular. And, above all, he must have the ability to inspire trust and confidence.