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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Politics wouldn’t be such a dirty business if it weren’t for the politicians

 I feel like Chicken Little. It seems that the sky is falling. It must be true because I keep hearing it on the news and in every newspaper.

So many people are confused, outraged and indignant over the state of our nation, our elected officials, and what is going on in Washington. People are so busy pointing fingers, they don't know where to lay the blame. It seems there is enough blame to go around.

Before I begin, I will state that I NEVER discuss politics in public. It usually isn’t prudent or polite unless you work in that field. Politics is such a divisive, caustic and potentially offensive subject, it is like walking through a mine field. Let’s face it, politics is a dirty business. Why? Because politics is about power and ego. Once you bring those two forces into any situation, there is bound to be trouble.

All over the social networks people are asking questions about our elected officials, like- “How can educated people, with advanced degrees, and impressive resumes be this stupid or malicious?” “Why do they (the other party from the one they like) want to ruin the country?” "I didn't vote for that person, so don't blame me!"

I am not a political scientist, but I have been around my share of politics and politicians. A lifetime ago, in a galaxy far, far away- not really, but a different marriage- I was a “political candidate’s wife”. But that’s another story. Trust me, it’s a nasty business. Have you ever met a former smoker who reviles smoking as if it were the most heinous habit on the planet? That’s how I feel about politics and politicians.

In my limited experience, the tiny bit of good I saw paled in comparison to the ugly, unpleasant, fake and nasty. I am sorry if that sounds unpatriotic, jaded or bitter, but sometimes when you have gotten too close to a fire, the heat doesn’t feel as good and you begin to notice the burning sensation.
All of our current elected officials have one huge thing in common. They ALL started out as politicians.
For the sake of civility, I will caveat the next opinions by including the disclaimer of “most” before the statements I make. I don’t want to be an extremist in anything.
So, in my opinion and experience “most” POLITICIANS:
  • Live in a world of smoke and mirrors
  • Believe their own hype
  • Will do anything, say anything and actually BELIEVE anything that gets them to that goal
  • Would walk over their families and closest friends to achieve their goal
  • Can rationalize any behavior
And, I believe, “most” politicians one and only REALITY is:
Which then translates and morphs into:
  • I  must win for the good of (again, fill in the blanks)
  • I  want to be in power
  • I  NEED to be in power
  • I  am the RIGHT person for the job
  • I  want to have my hand in what is going on
Politics is a world of wishful thinking, forced reality and rationalization. Education doesn't equal experience, intelligence, common sense or reason. Look how many elected officials wreck their lives with excruciatingly poor decisions, reckless behavior, and bad choices. The list of elected officials involved in financial scandals, sex scandals, felonies, misdemeanors, personality disorders grows each year. So please tell me, how is it that we are supposed to believe that they can run our nation or their own lives any better than one of us could?
Politicians aren’t any different than any of us, except “most” of them become drunk with power once they acquire the power and the means to act in incredibly irresponsible, irrational, and often times, criminal ways. I am not going to call out examples of specific names or crimes or incidences. We all know who and what they are. Many people think "their politicians" are the good guys and the other politicians are the bad guys.

Often people make excuses for the politicians in their own party because to criticize or call them out would be seen as disloyal or subversive. Another example of the dirty aspect of politics I can't abide.

Making excuses for the politician your party endorses no matter what. Seems a bit dishonest, doesn't it? This is one of the main reasons why I refuse to choose party affilliation anymore. There are good, and bad, on both sides of the aisle. Attempting to come close to one's own personal ideology or voting for the least offensive person is, in my view, the only sensible way to chose someone to vote for. By and large, these days the pickings are very slim.

Dirty politicians can be so protected by their constituents and party loyalists that even when they habitually make grave mistakes, errors in judgment or break the law(s), (ahem, D.C.)  for some inexplicable reasons, they  manage to be elected and RE-ELECTED for decades! Perhaps many of their constituents like having a "leader" they can relate to, even if it means they are criminals and charlatans.
Perhaps this seems like a cynical and negative rant. Perhaps it is. No different than any rant you will read daily in any newspaper Opinion section. This side calls out that side. This party calls out the other party. It is a never-ending litany of complaints, judgments and rhetoric. For me it is easy. Generally, “most” of them stink. The whole business stinks.
So in ending, I will say this- Politics corrupts the very people it employs. I am not saying that all of our current elected officials or politicians are evil people with malicious intent. Far from it. But the nature of the business creates an air of entitlement and supremacy.In general, it is about power, not service.

Perhaps it once was, though I am skeptical because human nature is human nature. History bears this out. The truly good and great ones were never as truly good or great as they were portrayed. They had their agendas and ego issues. They may have had moments of greatness, but by and large, politics is, and always will be pursued by those who love power and don’t know how to use it wisely. 
And that’s my opinion, take it or leave it. And if you don't like it, don't vote for me.

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