It was a sex scandal that caused Dominique Strauss-Kahn to resign from his position as managing director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 18 May 2011.
Racy emails purporting to show that Bret McGurk (President Barrack Obama’s nominee for US Ambassador to Iraq) had a relationship with an Iraq correspondent for The Wall Street Journal while he was the Bush White House’s top Iraq adviser, that caused Mr McGurk to withdraw from the nomination (18 June 2012).
Alleged electoral overspending against the Canadian Prime Minister’s right-hand Dean Del Mastro is the reason why Del Mastro is being asked to step down as Parliamentary Secretary (7 June 2012).
I could go on and on with examples when persons in important positions that affect the nation are asked to or required to stand down or resign amidst allegations (or judgments) of improper conduct and/or actions carrying criminal loads.
The non-custodial sentence of 1 year 10 months with 3 years probation (which will undoubtedly be appealed) delivered by a Hungarian court on Friday 29 June 2012 against Croatia’s first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economy Radomir Cacic (Croatian Peoples Party/HNS) for causing a car accident that resulted in two fatalities is not a reason for which the Social Democrats (SDP) led government requires Cacic’s resignation or even suspension. Furthermore, Cacic himself has not even contemplated resigning or moving aside even though some months ago he stated that should the court ruling be against him he would withdraw from politics.
Certainly, Cacic, Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, Croatia’s Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic and the whole of the leftist government, whose protagonists still, palpably, carry a burning torch for the communist regime Croatia left twenty years ago, obviously have no concern for the moral edification Croatia so desperately needs.
While Cacic and his governmental colleagues might think that causing a fatal accident is, after all, an accident that can happen to anybody – and therefore not a compelling reason for him to step down from his high governmental office – the fact is that Cacic caused the accident by driving his car with excessive speed given that weather conditions were reportedly those of only 40 metre visibility (fog?). Cacic’s defence claims he drove at 125 km per hour in a 130 km per hour speed limit zone while some court expert reports mentioned the possibility that Cacic may have been driving at the speed between 130 and 160 km per hour. Even if Cacic drove at 125 km per hour in such less than safe for high-speed weather conditions, it can be said that he drove irresponsibly, recklessly and dangerously. The latter must be a compelling reason for him to step down, if fatalities aren’t. Inferences, at least, about Cacic’s character can safely be drawn from such a car-driving record and such characters surely cannot in the normal world be trusted to deliver a sound government. He is no teenager towards whom such reckless driving could arguably be looked upon forgivingly.
Croatian media has relentlessly sought for Cacic to resign his post as first prime minister and minister for economy; representatives of parliamentary opposition parties have sought the same. But, the governing Kukuriku (Cock-a-doodle-doo) coalition is digging its heels firmly into the ground, supporting Cacic to stay on. What’s even more concerning is that prime minister Milanovic says “only few people have so much energy and desire to change something like Cacic has”.
Oh Lord! Let’s hope that Cacic’s energy doesn’t cause a fatality of Croatian economy!
Setting and maintaining high standards of morality in a democratic society is a job that is never done; it requires continuous efforts by individuals from all walks of life and particularly so from members of the government.
While morality is in many ways captioned by laws and regulations, individual interpretations of these can differ as night and day. Some interpretations cause unrest among citizens, and some don’t – depending on how deeply they offend the sense of human decency.
Croatia, in 1991, began its path into democracy. It carried with it the heavy, heavy load of communists’ moral high ground. In simple terms, this means that during the prior 45 + years the communists in authority molded a prevalent standard of morality within the society that most often had little if anything to do with human decency. That is, individual “officials” – whether governmental, judicial, educational, of work force and employment … often made their own subjective rules and behaved accordingly. The ordinary citizens had little to go on in the realm of clear moral standards expected of society, except the idea that being a member of the communist party, or at least be seen to agree with it, is great. It became almost existential to be a follower without questioning. And, hence, respect and heeding of laws and court decisions widely disintegrated into social wastebaskets. With a good connection to the communist party or with bribe money, one could achieve almost anything, bugger the consequences.
I psychological terms “Monkey see, monkey do” has a great deal to do with observational learning, imitation…and certainly, the moral standards within the society are to a great extent a replica of those practiced by authority figures and their mimicking within the society.
Hence, a crucial reason why in a developed democratic society where authority figures represent the people of the society, improper conduct by an authority figure is the sure ticket to dismissal, standing down, suspension, resignation… Decency must be maintained if humanistic society is to survive. High positions in society are the ones who set and maintain the moral standards for imitation via rigorous application of those standards.
Not when it comes to Cacic today, not in former communist Yugoslavia, though.
To make matters more distressing, most of the Croatian media, most of the parliamentary opposition see that edification, uplifting of social morality through decency of government and other authority figures must take precedence, if Croatia is to reach the levels of highly functioning democracy, but the government does not see this. If it did, then it wouldn’t close ranks around defending and justifying Cacic in the maintenance of the morally untenable.
With the implicated improper driving conduct that led to fatal consequences Cacic has, to my belief, no place in the government.
Continuing his mandate as if nothing happened (reportedly he also failed to properly apologise to the widow of one of the people who died as a result of the car accident), suggests haughtiness that has absolutely no place in any parliament, let alone in the parliament of a country that is trying to shed such stand-over, high-ground “morality” that communists had plagued the society with.
It’s clear that the few “energetic and capable” people Prime Minister Milanovic talks about when counting Cacic among them is a product of his disastrous shortsightedness.
If he looks beyond the tip of his nose he would see that Croatia is filled with positively energised people who want changes, real and meaningful changes. But, Milanovic still remains blind to the needs of moral edification of the ruling elite (at least), he and his government still subscribe to the insulting communist run “Monkey see, monkey do” shaping of morality where people at large were not required to understand either behavior or its consequences (like Monkeys?) – the only requirement: follow the leaders, do as leaders say and you’ll be O.K.
People disquiet about the Cacic affair in Croatia sends strong messages that people want democracy to work even if the current government does not. That is potent! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)