A politi­cian’s top pri­or­ity

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - LETTERS -

Par­lia­ment will con­vene to­mor­row after a long hot sum­mer hol­i­day. This time round, our Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment will meet and make a solemn pledge to the Mal­tese elec­torate that in their en­deav­ours to make Malta great again, they will do their best to be hon­est. Yes, why not? Why can’t politi­cians across the globe put hon­esty as their best pol­icy on top of their pri­or­ity list?

The elec­torate wants the truth from a politi­cian be­cause let’s face it, ev­ery­body knows that some of our politi­cians do not al­ways want to be hon­est. So how about start­ing to­mor­row at their first par­lia­men­tary sit­ting? Let’s en­cour­age one and all to fo­cus more on hon­esty and to try and do their part in a true ex­em­plary fash­ion.

A se­ri­ous Amer­i­can re­search has shown that when politi­cians con­sciously stop telling lies, they will have fewer phys­i­cal ail­ments (like headaches) and fewer men­tal health com­plaints (like symp­toms of stress, anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion).

It is a solid fact that when peo­ple are hon­est, they tend to feel safer and bet­ter about their re­la­tion­ships and so­cial in­ter­ac­tions. Telling the truth seems to light up a sort of plea­sure centre in the brain. Al­though the choice to lie or be hon­est is of­ten a choice be­tween two un­de­sir­able things, telling the peo­ple the truth avoid hurt­ing their in­ner­most feel­ings. The bru­tal truth can be painful, yes, but peo­ple need to know it if the politi­cian is to im­prove his/her per­for­mance and po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

At times, however, the com­pul­sion to be hon­est can put a strain on the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the voter and the politi­cian, but it’s far bet­ter and worth it not to fudge the truth. Peo­ple know by now that some politi­cians tend to cheat when they are al­most cer­tain that they can get away with it (Panama Pa­pers for ex­am­ple). Other politi­cians tend to take a risk and cheat if they see other col­leagues do­ing it; but they will do it less if we per­sist in re­mind­ing them to be hon­est over and over again.

The bot­tom line is that fa­mous say­ing: “Ev­ery­body wants the truth, but no­body wants to be hon­est... espe­cially cer­tain politi­cians!” Jos Edmond Zarb Birkirkara

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