Ethics refers to standards of behavior based on morality and virtues derived from principles of right or wrong , good or evil . In ethics there are two aspects involved: the capacity to separate right from wrong and the will to commit to what is right, good and proper (Scott , 1996). The political arena and politicians are bound by many ethical considerations . This is when politicians are drafting and passing laws, representing their constituencies, when dealing with non-political matters and also when dealing with each other . the question of ethics in politics is a question of whether virtues such as love, honesty, justice, loyalty , idealism and trust should fit into a political life(Scott , 1996).
To reach an ethical decision in politics is not easy. This is because such decisions involve conflict of interest , yielding to undesirable realities and agony for the deciders or for others. Reaching an ethical decision involves evaluating and choosing from many options but obeying ethical principles. Firstly, one has to sniff out and eliminate unethical options. Here, one has to think ethically by being sensitive to know the ethical consequences of the decisions (Crawford, 2002) . After doing this, one ends up with only the ethical decisions , though these decisions are not equal. It’s not easy for one to get all the facts he/she requires to evaluate the different options. Then one should evaluate the available incomplete and ambiguous facts. Then one is now supposed to choose the optimal ethical alternative. Choosing the optimal ethical alternative may though be difficult since one may be faced with ethical dilemmas in the sense that one may feel that two or more alternatives may be right(Crawford, 2002).
Ethical dilemmas may Involve truth versus loyalty. Here, one is faced with the challenge of being honest while still keeping his/her promises. Ethical dilemmas may also involve choosing between oneself and the community. Another dilemma is about choosing between the requirements of the present against those of the future. Lastly, the dilemma could be choosing between being fair and treating people equally against giving a special treatment or being merciful to those with special needs(Crawford, 2002).
When one is faced by these dilemmas, the best way out is to choose the alternative that meets all values. For example one should go for the alternative that will enable him balance between his interests and those of he community. Alternatively , one should think of coming up with a creative alternative that evades the dilemma. If one is still unable to find a way out of the dilemma, then involving the stakeholders in the decision comes in handy . Let them help you get the best alternative. After settling for the best ethical alternative, one should then get committed to it. One should have ethical consciousness and competency. At this point , the ethical thinking and chosen alternative comes to effect(Crawford, 2002).
There are many arguments for and against this issue of politics. This section discusses some of them.To start with are the pros. First, its important to appreciate the fact that the most crucial decisions that affect everybody’s day to day life are decided in the political arena. These include Education , government size, Environmental issues, Health, Tax , Peace, Business , cost of leaving and many others(Scott , 1996). In the education arena, politics decide the availability of resources to set up schools, hire teachers, buy required resources etc. politics also decide what to teach to students at different levels of study. for example whether or not to teach sex to kindergarteners. This shows politics play a major role in shaping our lives hence we should advocate for good politics. This in turn makes politics a noble profession since those in it decide issues that really matter. They decide the direction of our country, city and society(Scott , 1996).
A German novelist in 1924 argued that there is nothing that is not political, everything is politics. Politics also determine what people eat(Scott , 1996). For example, in many countries, there is always the debate about whether to ban or not fast foods which are believed to make people vulnerable to obesity . in the medical arena, politics decide crucial things such as when to carry out abortion by doctors, legality of test tube technology of producing babies, etc . politics also decide whether we use gasoline to power our motors, whether to regard carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as pollutant ,acceptable religious practices for instance whether or not to allow gay marriages, what we use to make our grocery bags ( many countries have banned thin plastics considered non-biodegradable) (Scott , 1996). This shows that politics are not bad and if one decides to shun the issue , those with bad ideologies end up winning and the values that one holds dear end up being regarded as evil, backward ,wicked and unenlightened and end up being banned.
This shows that politics decide peoples destiny . politics decide on the best strategy to use to reverse dangerous trends such as global warming , nuclear threat, waste disposal methods. Politics also decide the amount of resources to inject to the economy in order to grow jobs ,helps workers receive fair treatment in the work place and keeps good jobs from being given to foreigners. Since all these things affect every one in the society, this shows that we are the recipients of good or bad politics and therefore we should strive to inject some hygiene in this arena(Crawford, 2002).
There’s also a negative side to politics. To succeed in politics, one has to have adequate resources to invest in campaign. This shows that, people with very good policies which can greatly advance the society but are poor end up being locked out of the system. Wealthy people end up capitalizing on this by funding the poor aspirants and in return they are given lucrative after politics careers, big jobs in firms that do business with the Government and tenders to supply goods and services to the Government at exaggerated costs , etc. all these amount to corruption(Crawford, 2002). Politicians also take most of their time engaging in bickering among themselves and apportioning blame on irrelevant things as opposed to doing things that can advance the society. Negative campaigning whereby politicians engage in attacks intended to damage the opponents character ends up polarizing the country. Such negative campaign practices have led to blood shed in many countries like Kenya.
Politics also leads to manning of government ministries by incompetent people just because they’ve been elected as opposed to a meritocratic system where leadership is given to professionals on competence grounds(Crawford, 2002). Politics also result to unbalanced development of a country. This is because regions which are represented by big political shots end up being allocated more resources due to their influence. Dark things such as assassinations and witch hunting have characterized the political arena in many countries . Empty promises have also become the order of the day by many politicians. All these instances paint politics negatively(Crawford, 2002).
From an ethical point of view and from the steps discussed earlier on how to reach an ethical decision, one can easily tell that the cons highlighted are unethical. Politics has been associated with evil things such as corruption, assassinations and witch hunting which are unethical. In place of a political system, I would propose a meritocratic system whereby, professionals are appointed to head different government departments because they are qualified to head them . Also , competent people should be appointed to represent people at the grass root level. Such professionals would even do better the many positive things that have been associated with politics including making decisions that affect everyone in sectors such as Health and Education.