I don’t like politics. Strange thing for a newspaper editor to say, I know, but there it is. I don’t like talking about it. I don’t like listening about it. And I really don’t like watching the commercials about it. I’ve seen a couple recently that really make me realize what Elvis must have been thinking when he shot his television.
To clarify – I don’t like national politics. And I don’t think I’m alone.
There are several inherent problems with politics on the national scale, not least of which is the fact that everyone is in this only for themselves. (Present writing company included, I’m afraid.) If you’re running for office, there’s just no way you can win doing that.
First significant problem I have, especially while watching/listening to politics, is the base message. To me, the message in ads, commercials and soundbites is “Vote for me because I’m not the other guy.”
There is no real attempt to tell us, the voters, why we should trust them other than we can’t trust the other guy at all. And as far as policy – well, it comes down to one says black, the other says white.
The next issue is that, at the national level, the main goal is for the respective party to be in control. All other considerations are secondary, as the computer said in a movie.
This was really pointed out a while back when a candidate said, to paraphrase, that he would do whatever he could to make sure the party won the upcoming election and to defeat the other party. Not – “I want to work to help our citizens.” Nor “And I know we have some good ideas to make our country better, so I’m going to do what I can to make those ideas a reality.”
Nope. Just the need to make sure that his party defeated the other party.
One other issue with national politics is, well, to put not too fine a point on it, us. The electorate.
The ruling idea when it comes to politics, and a main reason why I try to stay out of these sorts of conversations is “Well, if you don’t see it my way, you ought to just go live with the rest of those idiots who don’t agree with me.”
Pick any hot-button topic. Pick one. Any one. Got one? Okay. Don’t show it to me.
Now, think of someone close to you who doesn’t agree with you on that topic. You say yes. He or she says no. Does that mean that you should no longer talk to that person? Perhaps sever all ties? Build a wall and tell them to get lost?
No. It means you disagree on one thing. And there are probably more things to disagree about, but why look for them?
Still, when it comes to national-scale discussions on these hot topics, the idea is to get rid of anyone who doesn’t agree with us. Ship them off to all live together where we won’t have to deal with them.
And in the same breath, those proposing the above action will make reference to how those they don’t agree with are so much like past governments elsewhere in the world who gladly shipped off people that they didn’t agree with.
(I’ll let that sentence sink in for a moment. Maybe you should read it again. It’s a little convoluted. Sorry. I tried to make it simpler, but it just didn’t condense.)
I bring this all up because things are starting to get a bit hectic in the political arena. The email inbox on my computer is clogging up with innumerable pleas for money for candidates, seeking volunteers for candidates, and, this more than anything, emails stating why I should vote for them. Because, hey, at least they aren’t the other guy.
It is times like these when I feel the need to turn to someone wiser than myself for words of wisdom. Yes, I’m referring to Douglas Adams and his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In it, among the discussion of towels, time travel accidents, and the answer (42), is this extremely true take on politics across the universe:
“To summarize: it is a well known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.”
I think that’s something that all of us agree with.