Tuesday, August 31, 2010

There's a Reason Why There Are No Good Politicians

That is to say there is a reason why there are no politicians with genuine interests at heart. Genuine interests can be defined as points of view on which you are inflexible to opposition. For instance, you are either for human rights or you're not for human rights. You don't have to be AGAINST human rights necessarily to not be for them. Politicians are not political activists. A political activist's interest is the success of a point of view. A politician's is not.

There comes a point where a political activist, which I believe all worthwhile politicians begin as, cease to be an activist for an issue and begin to be a politician whose focus is politicking. There are of course politicians from different lines of work, particularly corporate America, but that plague is best left for discussion at a different time.

The crux of the difference between an activist and a politician is flexibility. Activists are inflexible on their positions. Politicians are born out of a belief that to get something you must give something. Compromise.

Compromise a little on women's rights to gain a little to pass a health care bill. The politician rationalizes that overall more good is done. But in the end, they are deluded. How can one measure the life of one over the life of another? How can one person's civil rights be considered better or more worthwhile in this political climate than another? At what point does the line get drawn? At what point will the politician completely sell out their principles?

In for a little, in for a lot. The first time is always the hardest. At what point does a politician simply cease to function as a purposeful voice for their constituents of all backgrounds?

There's a reason they're called campaign promises, because everyone knows that they'll never be kept. The politicians of the world say keep quiet. Your person won the race. It doesn't even matter who you are or who actually won. They're there. Be unwaveringly supportive. Or else, they might lose.

The political activist says the politician is not doing their job. They hold the politician's feet to the fire. They press for their point of view at all costs. Even if their candidate loses. It doesn't matter; they weren't their candidate anyways. The activist was told it was their candidate by the politicians of the world. But the candidate never supported them anyways.

Politicians favor their jobs more than they favor their constituents. All politicians. They believe, even if they know they're giving in a little to get a little, that they are doing some good that wouldn't have been done otherwise. What they fail to realize is that they are doing some bad too. A health care bill would have been great, had it been the one that didn't slight women. A civil rights Amendment would be great, if it didn't just serve those who the nation already gives civil rights to.

Political compromise does not make the nation a better place for everyone. It doesn't even make the nation a better place for some. It makes everyone unhappy because everyone didn't get what they wanted. Some issues, like civil rights, like health care, do not have shades of gray between the black and white.

Yes a health care bill will help many people. But its going to hurt many others. And as is, the concessions we've made to insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry have set us back decades in exchange for something that exactly no one wanted.

The same runs true with politicians. Make inroads in one area and lose in others. You never really get what you want from your politicians. Few get their first choice for President, Congress, or Governor. And none are satisfied with the concessions given to injustice and greed. But they do try, I'll give them that. They try as hard as they can, spend millions of dollars, to try to convince you that they're doing a good job. That's the reason why there are no good politicians.

If you get stuck on a deserted isle with your choice of a politician or an activist. Pick the activist. At least you'll know they stand for something that isn't themselves.