This week stole my smile.
Literally. I broke a front tooth over the weekend, which resulted in havoc in the Lotriet household. I panicked like a little girl and the lovely Snapdragon phoned around to get hold of an emergency dentist.
Eventually we managed to speak to an implantologist, who was only able to help us late on Monday morning.
By this time, I was calm and practical again. As an avid DIYer, I constructed a temporary crown from a needle and some pharmacy tooth cement – a piece of amateur dentistry that filled me with pride and got me through the weekend.
The implantologist mimicked Snapdragon and refused to show admiration for my skills. As a matter of fact, he hid it behind a mask of horror when he battled to remove my creation and had to resort to what I can only compare to the dentistry world’s equivalent of a hammer drill and an angle grinder.
Two painful, nervous days later I could face spring with a brand new smile and had to concede reluctantly that the specialist did a considerably better job than my own attempt.
“The ordeal got me thinking,” I told the lovely Snapdragon.
“Sometimes it’s better if you just don’t think at all,” she answered, but I ignored her. I explained to her that we get dental experts to work on our smiles. We get the best mechanic to work on our cars. And if I eventually get a heart attack because she raises my blood pressure constantly with her beauty and her never-ending stubborn bickering, I will trust a cardiologist to get my trusty old ticker going again.
But when we elect local government officials, we choose politicians to do the job.
That’s more or less as stupid as reconstructing your own front tooth at home.
The result is predictable. They measure success by counting the number of little political battles won or lost, not in terms of service delivery. They’re held accountable by the party, after all, not the people.
I have learned one important lesson from the past week: get experts to do the job properly. And the same goes for local government. Nobody knows the needs of the people better than they themselves.
We need government for the people by the people. Not government for the party by politicians.