The definition of politics is rather vague and telling; an easy way to sum it up is “The activities associated with the governance of a country or area.” This is innocuous and, well, vague: what type of activities? What does a government do? How does one run a country, city, town, even street? At the same time, this basic definition is telling: the key word is ‘activities.’ If one labels the actual governance–i.e., building roads, repairing waterworks, making decisions–as “activities” it would be fine, but the point is that the term ‘activities’ more often than not refers to the whole process in making those decisions, the process behind deciding to repair those waterworks or build that road.
If my above opening statement confused you, I am not surprised and am rather relieved, as I have proved my point. Politics is just not my thing; a close friend who majored in political science once told me, “If you did pursue politics, you would be good at them.” It’s true that I have never pursued politics in the sense of trying to make head or tail of governments, law, public administration, political parties. The ironic thing is that my interest in international relations has every relation to politics, decision-making and leadership; what turns me off politics as a whole, I would say, is the idea of the political party.
Sourced from mylynde.wikispaces.com
I find politics–a better definition, à mon avis, of the word would be “those background activities associated with planning the governance of a country or area”–to be hopelessly confusing and pointless; hence, my opening statement was most likely confusing to the reader, as I myself cannot write rationally, logically or informedly on the issue of politics. As already stated, I am interested in the actual concept of governing a country, i.e. deciding what needs to be done, and how to implement these decisions. What I am not interested in is political parties, elections, primaries, votes, electoral districts, conventions, fundraising (for politics) and all those other ridiculous things that have to do with getting a person elected.
I was reminded–and please excuse the continued use of ‘I’ in this post; I realize that it is a highly personal and opinionated post, which is actually fitting in with the topic of politics, but I have been off WordPress for more than a week now as I started a new job and came down with the flu simultaneously–of my intense hatred for politics whilst translating an article for Watching America. For those who don’t have foreign friends or who can’t converse in a second tongue, Watching America steps in to fill the void by providing Americans with translated versions of articles from around the world, thus informing the American public as to what the rest of the world really thinks about America. As I was translating my first piece, a lengthy piece entitled (English translation) “The Republican Party: No Leader, No Strategy,” I was reminded over and over again why politics is just not my cup of tea.
One would think that politics would appeal to the opinionated, to the intellectual, to the blogosphere where people spend their time critiquing and giving their own take on topics. But politics–a.k.a. according to my definition, the activities in which people are elected to govern–disgust me. It seems that people in this ‘industry’ (tell me that it’s not) are solely concerned with fighting with each other, with knocking down the other guy and hoisting their own colours on the flag. In short, political people are all egomaniacs who love to listen to themselves speak. Obviously one needs to be endowed with a bit of hubris in order to run for a leadership role, as you’re basically admitting that you think you’re great and can do the job better than anyone else (oh wait, sounds like a job interview! Damn, no wonder I suck at those things) but political people take it one step further. It takes a lot of hubris to stand up there and tell bald-faced lies (do any politicians fulfill their promises?)
The idea of political parties scare me the most, as they hearken back to fraternities/sororities, religion, members-only clubs and a general “herd mentality” concept that I will never hop on the bandwagon with. Frankly, I’m not sure why they need to exist. What if I am a registered Democrat but I don’t believe in abortion? (Just an example). What should I do? Declare myself a Republican because I don’t see eye-to-eye on one issue? I believe that political candidates should just be themselves–pretty sure this idea was mentioned by a Ms. Juleanna Glover in the Le Monde article I translated) and promote what they truly believe in. I believe that people should vote for the candidate they believe is the best man for the role, not because he (or she!) is a member of a certain political party.
The presence of political parties only increases the amount of arguing that goes on in politics. If all candidates were independents, there would be less snark and baiting. Why? Multiple reasons come to mind. A simple one is that I believe people would be less inclined to insult each other (think of those nasty primary publicity campaigns!) because they would be directly insulting a person’s beliefs, and not a parties. When it’s a “every man for himself” race, there would be less time to argue as one would have to tailor arguments to fit the multitude of candidates, not just the oppositie political party. The political parties seem to draw the focus away from what is really at stake: a town, a city, a country. People get so wrapped up in pointing fingers and “he said, she said” nasty rhetoric that they forget that, upon being elected, these people actually have to make some very important decisions that will effect the lives of many and the stability of a nation.
Being yourself and focusing on actual issues rather than what everyone else is saying or doing seems fairly logical, but it apparently doesn’t happen in politics–why? Because one needs to drum up wads of campaign funds to get reelected? Would someone like to explain that concept to me?
Oh wait, I rescind that request; if politics are confusing enough to me, economics are even worse! Perhaps that’s why I never enjoyed AP Government and Economics in high school…..