Is Politics Cowing, or it’s the Politicians?
Today I will quote a lot of people as I keenly consider what makes politics good or bad depending on what side of the valley you stand. Politics must be considered, it must be discussed, it must be scrutinized because deciding not do all the above is akin to burying your head in the sand and thinking the enemy is not seeing you.
We are nearing the 2022 general election. As the days go by, they come with mixed reaction especially on what expectations people have with whatever comes out of the voting in about a year from now. Yet Emma Goldman seems to have identified herself with a lot of us.
She was quoted having said, “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” In a layman language, we wake up after every election cycle to go vote not as a way of exercising our democratic right for progress, but because everybody is comfortable that nothing will change after all.
We have resorted to simply agreeing that more often, changing the forest doesn’t change the habit of the monkeys. They will always be monkeys; they were made to climb and go perching on branches. And you can agree that this is what we identify best with.
At this point we can agree that our cowing about politics has more to do with the politicians as it does with our politics. We vote to exercise what we think to be a legal right yet at the end of the day, we hear of systems at play and we wonder if ours is a roller-coaster of convenience.
Whatever Joseph Stalin said back in the day has remained relevant today as it was years back. To him it was, and I agreed partly that, ‘It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
Now that those who think this is what politics is all about, resort to defend what they think is a right stolen from them. To the extreme end, they think of violence as a way of purchasing that right and the dangers that get posed with that are often dire.
They do so in the gentleman-ship way of agreeing with Dante Alighieri who felt that the darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. For the fear of reserving their places in hell, they resort to take positions however dangerous on the very forefront by choosing to play it rough.
For those who are beginning to plant seeds of hatred among their people and also instigating crystals of violence, to them, slotting a place in hell is better taken care of by first taking the offensive side instead of taking the neutral side and finally ending there.
Politics is a dirty game as has been painted to us. Often than not, I wonder what makes it dirty given that there are three parties involved in playing the game. What does it take then to make it a dirty? As though that is not enough, I ask myself what role I play in the whole mix.
For something to be dirty, there needs to be mud, then there is the place or fabric that becomes dirty and then the person that makes something dirty either as virtue of use or simply due to accident. For us unfortunately, the dirty is more of a choice as opposed to an accident.
The electorate has been downgraded to become the mud and the place or fabric to be dirtied. The politicians have taken their permanent place in partaking the action of applying the mud on the electorate. We have been dirtied and when we think it is enough, the ideology gets changed and we find ourselves right in the mud again. Simply said, such is life.
So why exactly is it that we can’t find any confidence in our politics, our politicians and even in we ourselves? Everything has something to do with us. We the electorate. And the fact that we have over time accepted to sell our conscience to bad politics. Period.
In our politics, the bad do not get justice served on their plate nor are the good appreciated. You become a good politician, everything gets worked against you and you get served the opposite of what you could expect of a good person.
You do bad, you get praised and become an epitome of what “governance” looks like. Whether is good governance or bad, it is none of our business. There is a lot of glory with being the bad politician. So, at the end of the day, it is the politics, the so-called politicians and we the electorate.
Someone could wonder if it is better in other places, nay. Although in terms of maturity of other democracies, theirs is better than ours yet sometimes theirs is not perfect as well. But not in all aspects. Sometimes you find a democracy where the politicians are fair in a way and the electorate are very good as well as their systems being much better.
No wonder Milton Friedman said that if you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand. That is because it is a government run by politicians even though it has a near-perfect systems. To mean that at the end of the day, it will never be perfect but it can become better.
So, lets us agree that our politics and politicians and part of the electorate are cowing. Yet still, we should continue the civil movement in a more noble way with the hope that things will become better. Choosing to become a sound and morally mature electorate is the thing. In generations to come, maybe a generation would have come to epitomize true mature politics. For now, we have to pay the price of liberation.
Remember, “One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end being governed by your inferiors,” Plato said. Maybe I add that refusing to participate in politics maturely, soberly and soundly could be our greatest undoing. But we still have a chance come 2022 and years to come.