Aired on April 12, 2010
Narration by Ptr. RG Foncardas
FAMILY DYNASTIES: Why they are dangerous?
Every election, many people who are related to one another, run for office. They may be related to a father, a brother, a sister, or a mother who has been in office in the past. In some cases, they are spouses who alternate in office — when the term limit of the other expires. The question we must ask, before jumping to conclusions, is this: how should we view political dynasties?
Families are of course a blessing to society. They pass on values, skills and knowledge to the next generation. This is especially evident in the case of professions. For example, there are father-and-son or mother-and-daughter doctors….sibling lawyers, and even engineer cousins…or a family of artists and academics. The achievements of an older relative can inspire a younger one to pursue the same profession. But sometimes we see people taking up a relative’s profession not out of choice, but because they are forced into it, OR, in the case of politics, because they may have many family interests to protect.
This conflict of interests is the risk of dynasties in the political profession. Simply carrying a certain name is not a guarantee of competence, or commitment to the people. Therefore, NO ONE should be elected to hold office simply because of their name. Character and competency — NOT family name — are the most important criteria of a quality public servant.
Unfortunately, in our complex, democratic form of government — with its history of family dynasties — the best qualified candidates have not always won. Often those who are more qualified to govern never get the chance because they do not bear the same name or the same connections. Political families often get entrenched, and over time may tend to abuse their position and power for family gain. The result is an UN-democratic and dysfunctional government, which hinders national progress.
Let’s consider from Scripture what happened to Solomon and Jeroboam. Solomon was one of the greatest and wisest rulers of Israel. But Jeroboam, his son, caused the division and eventual downfall of the kingdom. There are many examples of this happening in the Old Testament, and in human history. This is why monarchies were supplanted by democracies. Power, or competence in governance, is not hereditary. Government by a few privileged families narrows a country’s pool of capable leaders and almost always deteriorates into corrupt governance and autocratic rule.
Our Constitution bans political dynasties to avoid that danger. But to this day, our leaders have not implemented this provision. One test of a candidate’s sincerity and capacity to serve the people is whether he or she, upon assuming office, would implement the ban on family dynasties.
So this election season, we urge you to vote for candidates –NOT based on their name or fame — but rather vote for those who possess the greatest character and competence to lead the whole nation.