As Israel stands on the verge of possible general elections, and America is nearing the end of its primary season, each of us — as private citizens — has to make up his mind, and pick his favourite candidate. How should we tackle this crucial task? Should I choose to vote solely on the basis of the candidate’s promises? Her past record? And what about personality? It’s a proven fact that personality plays a critical factor in this decision.

Hollow PoliticiansBut then, what aspects of personality should I take into account? His family status? Do I find it significant whether she displays herself as a warm and open character, or as a bold and intelligent person? And finally, what about his motives? Should I care why he made it into politics in the first place — Would it imply how good of a politician he might play out to be?

I want to list the major factors that drive different people into the violent fields of the political game. I don’t think we could ever really know what motivates a certain person — mostly, he doesn’t fully know it himself. Nevertheless, defining these possible motives is something I would like to attempt here today.

Please note that the human psyche is a very complex phenomena. Accordingly, each person may accommodate a range of different — and even opposite — motives at the same time, at different ratios. These ratios may change over time. Yes, (some) people do change.

Okay, enough with the chit-chat… let’s start: We can divide the factors that drive a certain person into politics to three distinctive categories: Pragmatic Reasons, Psychological Deficiencies, and Moral Imperatives.

A. What Pragmatic Reasons are there?

1) A person who isn’t especially good at anything discovers that the political arena doesn’t require special skills or a university diploma. He has to make money somehow, and it’s the only place where he could find a job.

2) Another person ventured into politics to make a change. He’s in the game for twenty-thirty years. He’s already lost the spark many years ago. Cynicism covers him as he lies in bed, and indifference walks beside him as he enters another lobbyist’s gathering. But it’s now a habit. It’s too late to change profession after so many years.

3) A third person tried to make money in the private sector. Then he realized that nepotism is the name of the game; that without publicity, you’re nothing in this world. So he offered himself as president… This way, he could befriend a lot of rich moguls, who would line up to invest in his new business when he resigns office. Or he’ll be invited to sit in a corporate board of directors. Or he’ll travel the world and charge $1,000,000 for a single lecture. There’s also a book deal around the corner… But seriously, even if he isn’t one of the lucky few who exit politics straight into the tight embrace of Capitalism, he can still arrange a nice job for his niece, or have the bureaucratic leverage to receive a delicious bribe or two. (In short: Politics is a way to develop business relations, and to earn a high Market Value for oneself.)

Tomorrow I will continue this post.