3 Nov '13     home | previous

Politics, what is it?

We shouldn't trust Aristotle, but let's start with him. He writes, "Every state is an association, and every association is formed with a view to some good purpose." He writes that "man is by nature a political animal."

Politics is our association with our neighbors and the local city council. It can also be about relations with a family, which are governed in many societies by laws. Our nation sometimes goes to war, and the decision to go to war is political. Any head of state, in a democracy or a dictatorship, goes to war in association with people whose support he needs – his friends, family, sycophants perhaps, his cabinet, legislators, his military and likely the support of the business community – associations all that leave him other than alone. Those who bemoan the mixture of politics and war are naive about the nature of war. Not only is war created politically. It is managed politically, and it comes to an end politically.

Those who decide to run for political office chose to become what is popularly known as politicians. And, strange enough, a few who run for political office choose to denounce their opponents as the politicians they wish to become. In a democracy even babblers can run for political office.

People who hold public office are obliged to study issues and act on their assessment by voting. Unlike those who voted them into office, office holders are paid to study the issues. That's the office holder's job. They might exercise their communications skills and offer their political constituents leadership based on what they have learned.

But not always.

Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.