By the time you read this post tomorrow, the situation in Venezuela will become increasingly worse. The results of bad economic policies, government restrictions on freedoms, violence, and corruption have ignited a nationwide protest against Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro. In order to get a better understanding of the situation in Venezuela click here. Notwithstanding the geopolitical implications, we should take stock and account of what is going on.
The first lesson is that this did not happen overnight. The Venezuelan crisis did not start when Chavez won his first presidential election. The problem first started when the political leadership was more interested being in power than serving its citizens. History has shown us that when there is a crisis in political leadership-when our elected officials enjoy the perks of elected office instead of serving its people, a nation is ripe for a dictatorship. Think Napoleon, Hitler, Castro, Lenin, and so forth. Think of what is going on in our country. There has been a cult of personality in our national elections. We swoon when we hear our buzzwords-“defending the Constitution” or “fair share” without asking ourselves whether or not the person is qualified or has the character for the office.
The second lesson we need to heed from Venezuela is the impact of the politics of envy. The politics of envy is when the platforms of elected official use the buzzwords of “fair share” or “social justice” or “income inequality.” The politician who uses these words as part of their platform cannot be trusted because they will contribute to these problems. Consider France’s president. Upon his election, he promised a millionaire’s tax to help France’s social programs. The result? France’s millionaires have left the country and in some cases they have renounced their citizenship. Because they have left, France’s poor are left holding the bag, so to speak, because their government did not consider the consequences of such rhetoric. Another example is why U.S. companies have relocated their business to states that are more business friendly. Beware of the politician who uses envy as his platform.
The third and final lesson that we learn from Venezuela is that we as voters are ultimately responsible for our country. As Os Guinness once wrote, the hardest battle that a nation has is maintaining its freedom. We have the responsibility to be vigilant of our freedoms, to be an informed voter, not tolerate the politicians that have moral failings and elect him or her because of their electability. The reason we have a crisis in leadership in DC is not because of partisanship, it is because we as voters have tolerated the bad and said, “That is the way things work in DC or in our state capital or in our local government.”
Look to Venezuela and learn. Learn what happens when we as a nation tolerate bad leadership or demagoguery. What is going on Venezuela will happen in our backyards if we continue in this road. This is why Venezuela matters.