--> divine angst: commentary redux

Thursday, December 02, 2004

commentary redux

Richard Ames commented below about my social commentary post:
Actually, most of our public officials compromise quite a bit. Perhaps you see what you think you should see, but in reality it's just not there...I know it's the in-thing to be negative about government and politics, but to say pols are uncompromising simple ignores the facts. They are extremely compromising.

Frankly, I did say "at least publicly and in the media" that pols don't compromise. I know a great deal of compromise goes on in government, but it's also very much the in thing for politicians to put a face of non-compromise out to the public. Denise got it:
"...our politicians use the public forum to articulate seemingly intractable positions..."

And that's the problem with politics in our country. It doesn't matter that compromise is going on in the offices and conference rooms. The public view is of Party A and Party B fighting to be in control. We see our elected officials playing schoolyard bullies, and therefore we think it's OK to do it, too. I haven't had a civil conversation about politics with anyone in my family for close to ten years. Why? Because they are all convinced their side is "right" and my side is "wrong." Why? Because their side tells them so! (My side does the same thing. If it's even accurate to say I have a "side.") Whether their side and my side are actually meeting in the middle to do good work appears to be irrelevant.

The American people are treating politics as black and white (red and blue)—and these ideas are fattened by our ridiculous, sensationalist media—but the politicians aren't trying to disabuse them of the notion by clarifying what really goes on. Instead, as an example, John Kerry gets lambasted for his senatorial voting record because it seems to "flip-flop." Yet all he's been doing is that good work of compromise! It's really no-win in the public eye.

NB: Politics causes me the most ambivalence about going to law school in DC. I really don't want to be in an environment where politics is the currency and if you don't want any, you're out in the cold.