Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Why I love politics

Most people I know dwell on the dirty side of politics and make statements like: "I hate politics." and "Why is politics so negative?" and "You can't trust a politician." No doubt, there have been times when I have made similar comments. However, after limited involvement over the past few years, I have experience another side to politics, and can frankly say: "I don't hate politics" "Not all politics is negative" and "You can trust some politicians."

I have grown to love politics--at least some. Why? I must say, partly for selfish reasons, but even those selfish motivations reflect on what I feel is important in life and in a healthy society.

Politics brings a lot of people together. Those connected to successful campaigns--by which I do not merely refer to winning ones--often feel like they are part of a movement, something bigger than themselves or a single politician or a single issue. I think that feeling of being part of something bigger is important in life, important to an individual's self esteem. When people feel like they are cut off, disconnected, on their own, they often do not function as well as they do in a group, or with other accomplices. That is my great conspiracy theory.

No, I can't speak for everyone. Some people like to be by themselves; they might even believe that it is necessary to become a hermit in order to achieve their goals; they may teach their students or their children that you just have to do things on your own. How are you going to grow up if you don't figure it out yourself. Or as Roger Waters asks: "If I don't stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this maze?"

Personally, I thrive on collaboration. I just feel more alive when I'm working together with my peers. So, this is the selfish part. I like interacting with other people. Who doesn't? But this is also the unselfish part. When a lot of people interact, something magical happens, something that can lead individuals out of themselves, beyond their own particular interests. Community arises. Societies are formed.

Some individuals want to congregate. Others do it just to survive.

To me, politics is about individuals--not necessarily of the same background--coming together, working together to achieve a common objective. There is nothing by nature dirty about that. What can corrupt the process is the nature of the objective, the composition of the group, and the particular motivations of the forces that cause the group to coalesce.


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