Ahmad Abdul Haq

Candidate Delusions

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Sumber: Kick Andy.com


Rabu, 22 April 2009 08:25 WIBCandidate Delusions

Candidate Delusions I don’t particularly like watching competitive events, whether they be in the form of drama-packed talent contests, nail-biting sporting events like the Olympics or World Cup or suspenseful major awards shows like the Oscars. I generally gain very little pleasure in following them from beginning to end — the reason being, competitions always end up with winners and losers. And I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to see others lose, especially if they’ve worked hard training for the occasion.

The sight of runner-up contestants being voted out of American Idol, little gymnast girls holding back their tears in the Olympics after losing their footing on the balance beam, tense and nervous players making mistakes in finals, Hollywood stars trying to hide their disappointment when their names are not called for an Academy Award; these are spectacles that make as great an impression on me as the triumphant shouts of the victors.

The fact is I always feel sorry for the losers, even though I know that competition is the path they’ve chosen and they are all most likely professionals, thoroughly prepared, trained and prepped for their competitions.

And no doubt most are destined to take part in many more matches and face many more defeats before they come anywhere close to winning. After all, losing is an integral part of any competition and the number of losers will always greatly outweigh the winners.

But then what about competitions in which the contestants are not trained, possess no relevant skills or talents, have little understanding of how to compete or even the nature of the competition itself? And yet, for reasons best known to themselves, expect to win?

The competition then is no longer a drama of inspiring and heroic effort but a game devoid of any quality and a farce that is barely comic.

This is what it feels like after I watched political party members compete in the legislative elections and as I now follow the ensuing drama of winners and losers when the reality of their performance is brought home to them.

Not only do I find the whole process highly entertaining, but in some morbid way, I take pleasure in witnessing the various reactions of the losing parties and the losing candidates, whom I hasten to say fail to excite my sympathy for the simple reason that most are not genuine competitors with a competitive spirit, but a bunch of people who want to get their way at any cost.

And one must admit that in a race where the spectators fail to identify with the players, get immersed in the game or really want their team to win, often the sight of sore losers can be a lot more amusing than the actual competition itself.

Let’s face it, how many of the contending candidates actually entered the race for motives greater than the size of their egos, objectives more noble than their petty ambitions and with reality alongside their hopes?

I suppose it is concerning, even tragic, that some of those who didn’t manage to secure their expected votes fall into depression, have mental breakdowns, sulk, blame voodooism, go into denial and even resort to desperate measures.

But then, as the German philosopher Schiller said, “Against stupidity even the gods themselves contend in vain.” And what outcome other than failure is to be expected when the contestants enter the race like desperate gamblers playing with high stakes, betting with their lives, possessions and reputations? Either that, or they try to buy their way into people’s hearts through meaningless little gifts with big strings attached.

Losers become sore losers when their confidence in winning is either misplaced or unjustified.

Not only are these candidates blind to what the people want from an election, they are blind to how the voters see them. Where they see themselves as saviors and champions, people see them as self-serving opportunists. While they believe themselves to be generous and caring, the people see them as greedy and ambitious. Their promises, bereft of commitment, sincerity or ability, ring hollow.

Without any vision, any ideology, any shared values or even any inspiring actions, these contenders fall prey to their own illusions of significance, relevance and importance — which ordinary people correctly identify as the beginning of madness.

It’s a good thing that hospitals and mental health institutions have been duly prepared to house them.

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