Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why is it so hard to stay a good guy?

Or, why is it so hard to give up power.

Look at the Castro Brothers, they were once heroes of the revolution (I mean that sincerely) and now they are just the worst.

Look at Robert Mugabe, hero of Zimbabwe's independence, now reduced to destroying his own country to stay in power well into his 80s.

Look at Chavez. It's hard to remember now that he too was a hero.

In Africa, Museveni of Uganda helped depose Amin but has stayed in power now for 24 years and counting.

Sadly, Paul Kagame appears to be the latest case. He was a post-genocide hero, but most recently won re-election with 93% of the vote after vigorously suppressing opposition parties. Now the NY Times reports that Rwanda's leading opposition figure was just arrested today. Of course Paul has a long way to go to reach Mugabe longevity; he's only got 10+ years on the job at this point.

Are these all manifestations of the same personality type? Does fighting for a cause somehow delude you into thinking you are indispensable?

I find these cases simultaneously baffling and heartbreaking.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Makes George Washington's relinquishing power voluntarily all the more impressive

PLW said...

I swear y'all posted the answer from Cracked Magazine to few days back. It's because being in power makes you a dick.

Jeff said...

Ingabaire was arrested several months ago (when I was still living there) at the start of her election campaign. What's worse is that the Western media helps to makes her the most legitimate opposition figure when she is in fact a tactless fool.

And Kagame has been in de facto power since 1994, so there's that.

David said...

Here's a piece from the WSJ that I probably saw here and bookmarked to read later... Sorry I can't type html code off the top of my head

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704407804575425561952689390.html

Headline and Teaser:

The Power Trip
Contrary to the Machiavellian cliché, nice people are more likely to rise to power. Then something strange happens: Authority atrophies the very talents that got them there.

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