There’s a state election coming up this week-end, so I’ve been seeing a lot of campaign ads on TV, and a lot of campaign people on the streets. I’ve encountered these people mostly at the train station where I get off (or “de-train”, as the train announcer likes to say) for work, which doesn’t really make sense to me because a lot of people who get off there (myself included) probably aren’t in that electorate anyway – we just go there to work. Also, since we’re all going to work, we definitely do not have time to be standing around talking to these people about politics.
Anyway, the other day, as I was leaving the train station, on my way to work, I saw ahead of me, just beyond the exit, two people handing out fliers for a certain political party. I didn’t look long enough at the poster beside them to determine which party they were from, nor to figure out if one of them was the person on the poster, and hence an actual candidate (and not some random handing out fliers). Didn’t matter, anyway. All of the people exiting ahead of me either declined the proffered fliers or outright ignored them. I didn’t notice anyone smiling back or somehow acknowledging that these people were people (granted, I wasn’t really paying attention). I did, however, notice one man accepting a flier, but, judging by the disinterested look on his face, I’m not sure if he actually wanted it or knew what he was taking; or if he was still in an early-morning haze and would’ve taken anything that any random stranger gave to him.
I would not have thought all of this to be interesting enough to blog about as it is, but something else made me think twice about that morning. (Yes, believe it or not, I actually haven’t gotten to the point of this post yet!)
The other day, I read something (ok, it was just the headline – no time for the rest of the words…) about how pharmacists in the UK are trusted less than pharmacists in Australia, relative to other professions in the respective nations. (Not sure if that makes sense… Basically, pharmacists in Australia are usually ranked pretty high up in “who do you trust?” surveys, but UK pharmacists don’t rank so well. Again, I got this from a headline and, at most, the first sentence, so even I only have the basic jist of it.)
Having studied Pharmacy, and then worked as a Pharmacist for several years now, I’ve noticed that our professional/representative bodies like to put a lot of weight on these surveys. I think recently we’ve slipped down the list a bit (but still top ten?) and that was a really big deal. Pharmacists on the other side of the planet not being trusted is a big deal too, apparently. It makes sense, though – of course we want people to be able to trust us. But that’s not the issue.
The question I was pondering that morning was whether or not politicians experience this same anguish about people – the very people that they’re meant to be serving – not trusting them. (On a side note, do politicians have professional associations or something that … I don’t know … represent them or disseminate news or something?)
It’s no secret that people don’t trust politicians in general (and much less if the two main parties are constantly pointing out all of the lies told by the other party), so surely politicians know it; surely people who want to be politicians know it. Does it bother them? Do they make it a goal to improve their standing, and find ways to make people trust them? Are there any democratic countries where people actually trust their politicians? Is it just the natural order of things that politicians cannot be trusted? So many questions…