Politics – Overview

Why would anyone choose such a broad subject? Well, I won’t lie, audience, readers, barely interested skimmers… I chose to do a brief introductory overview about politics because it’s more than just something you shouldn’t discuss with customers, first dates, and oh, anyone you’re just now meeting. And because I’m angry. Apparently, political discussions are now considered impolite. I have had several people, all of them older than me by thirty years or more, tell me that politics and religion aren’t polite to discuss. Why? What is so horrific about our government and our opinions of it that we have to keep them to ourselves?

The official definition of “politics” is actually variable, according to Merriam-Webster; my two favorite definitions are “the art or science of government” and “the total complex of relations between people living in society”. Did you hear that, sensitive old people? Science or ART! There is absolutely an art to politics, –political science is the art and the study of the way people interact with each other in varying situations of power and control, and the way those without power respond to the activity within the governing body. Whether this governing body refers to government leaders, or the managerial team of a Burger King, there is always a political system to learn.

For example, you get a new job; you have to learn how to do all your duties, how to properly complete each task and responsibility, within weeks of arriving. And then you learn the hard stuff. What little things offend which people, not stepping on the toes of senior employees, how the lunchroom refrigerator works. And most importantly, the consequences for violating any of the unspoken policies. The official rules are written in black, but the ones that keep you in a good position, getting decent pay, are whispered over coffee. Government politics are far more tangible, but the same basic rules apply.

Things are supposed to work a certain way, but since we’re all humans, not robots, we respond to each new development differently. Not only that, but we have a multi-party democracy, –now I know what you’re thinking. “Aren’t Democrats and Republicans the only two parties that get elected?” Yes, but we do have more than two political parties. Which is why our political system is so complex, –much more complex than our own wants and needs. It’s easy to say “I vote Democrat because I need Social Security.” There’s more to it than that, –in fact, it’s probably the most narrow approach to choosing a candidate that exists, other than “I voted for Bush because he’s a Christian.” And the “more to it” bits, all those details, –those are politics.

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