Posted by Tom Kershaw in on -
It’s a frustrating time for those of us who don’t necessarily identify with any powerful political group. It’s difficult for me, personally, to internally justify the Republican or Democrat agenda in their respective entirety. And it seems, sadly, that those are my only choices.
Furthermore, these respective agendas, at their core, seem to essentially be the same thing—that being of course, to make individual politicians and their friends rich and powerful, despite their supposed lofty ideals.
Just look at the new Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan, for example. While consistently claiming that the government needs to stay out of business’ business, he voted in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Fund, which pumped hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars into private companies, companies that Ryan himself owns shares of.
Oh, those dirty Republicans, you might say.
Well, Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, while championing strict government oversight over Wall Street and the economy, took advantage of a little-known law immunizing politicians from insider trading practices (practices forbidden to “normal” American citizens)—and made millions!
Oh, those dirty politicians, you might say, get the bums out! Bring in a group of honest folks! I’m disgusted! Appalled! Flabbergasted!
But why? It’s your fault, after all. And mine.
Follow me. Politics, the entity, is rooted in matters of ethics. And if history, philosophy, and THEE can show us anything, it’s that what is and what is not ethical is determined by the social acceptance of what is and what is not ethical.
Our society is currently at a point where what is considered ethical revolves around the advancement on one’s adopted or given social group as it competes with other groups in society. That might include Democrats, Republicans, Wall Street Investors, bankers, Ivy League alumni, black people, Muslims, Mormons, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans, drinkers, smokers, non-smokers, children, small business owners, union workers, managers, the elderly, veterans, families, park goers, motorcycle enthusiasts, etc., etc., etc.
Think about it, here’s a couple of examples: Latin American immigrants are hugely in favor of the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation that would give illegal immigrants a pathway to legal residency in the U.S. And gun owners fight tooth and nail against firearm regulations.
Of course, right? Why would it be any other way? It seems so perfectly natural because that’s the ethical system our society has accepted as right and good and normal and everything else—and you and I accept it as well (well, I’m only assuming that you accept it). Politicians are operating under the same ethical umbrella, if you will. They do what’s best for politicians—their little elite social group.
It stands to reason that the only thing that will change this is a complete shift in society. Seems impossible? Don’t worry, it’s happened already numerous times.
This time, rather than focusing on what’s best for individual groups in society, we can look forward to focusing on what’s best for society as a whole.
Beyond that, we’ve got to foster a social environment of integrity, responsibility, and awareness if we ever hope to see a political system that reflects these values. But, personally, I think that’s already happening. We’re calling it the 21st Century Enlightenment.
But like the 18th Century Enlightenment, beautiful ideas and principles will bloom and those in power will fight bitterly against them. But never fear, just like in the movies, goodness always prevails because people are good and they want good things and they don’t stand for bad things forever.
I guess, in the end, this message will be ultimately disappointing to you if you’re reading this hoping for some guidance during an election year. My suggestion: don’t worry about it, it’s quite meaningless, get on with your life and enjoy yourself. That’s what I’m doing.
- Tom Kershaw
- Hi! I'm Tom and I am a full-time writer, musician, and father to a firecracker of a four year-old. My wife and I lease our house and cars from her in hopes that her considerable talents of mess-making, princess-impersonation, and stuffed animal-whispering will pay off and fund our eventual retirement in the south of France.
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