It may be that these days I listen more and talk less (though my muttering and grumbling is at an all-time high).
Or it may be that what I’m hearing is the expression of a sentiment that is so widespread and popular tuning it out is as successful as tuning out the ear-splitting scream of a smoke detector.
“I hate politicians.”
It is a sentiment that I hear with more frequency, either in conversation or in passing. No doubt it’s a feeling that has probably been around since the first votes were cast in support of those who advocated walking upright or those who wanted to continue ambling along on all fours, hunched over dragging knuckles on the ground.
“Can you believe Gorg is promising that if we all walk around erect and on two legs we can reach food in the trees and have more food for the group? Have you ever heard such poppycock? Boy, I hate politicians!”
But even then it was a self-defeating, almost lazy way of thinking.
The problem with adopting that mindset is that it is self-limiting. It’s used as an excuse to check out from the decision-making process that affects all of our lives. If I think all politicians are corrupt and ineffectual then why should I participate in an exercise that rewards politicians?
One of the problems, however, is that by checking out of the political process you reward the people who have corrupted public office.
After all, if you were scamming people and using your position of authority to benefit yourself and your friends and supporters at the expense of everyone else, wouldn’t you want fewer people paying attention and holding you accountable?
Of course there have been elected politicians who have been criminal and corrupt and ineffectual and lazy and mean and racist and misogynistic. But how did they get into office and how do they remain?
It is reasonable and easy to feel overwhelmed when you feel powerless to make the change you want to see happen in your neighborhood, community, city, state and country. But hating politicians and choosing not to participate in our system of representation and decision making is self-defeating. Politicians are people. Find the good people and make them the politicians you need them to be.