I suffer from the delusion of responsible politics. I like to assume that politicians tell us exactly what they are about, what they will and won’t vote for, and they do everything in their power to get their agenda accomplished. Unfortunately these expectations, rather than making me a political guru, make me naïve. The sad fact is, a lot of politicians are involved for personal gain and ego, and making behind the scenes deals is how policy gets passed.
Not only does this system discourage integrity, but the majority of the population does not take the time to examine these politicians. Often, politics devolves into presentation to appeal to those who refuse to learn what a candidate’s track record is, or what they have actually accomplished. It’s a system that does not hold politicians accountable to the principles of the constitution, but willingly confers power over every aspect of American life to well-dressed strangers.
Politics has become a place to be someone famous for just being. An excellent example of this is the 2009 decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to bestow their prize onto then-recently elected President Obama. Obama is a great politician. He is well-spoken, has a beautiful wife (with an expansive garden at the White House), and two lovely children. He campaigned his way into office on a platform of hope and change — intangibles that lit up the faces of those who did not bother to learn how he planned to achieve them and shrugged off his lack of political experience in favor of the wordy rhetoric offered instead.
The fact that Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, after doing essentially nothing in office except spending taxpayer dollars on a massive stimulus (unrelated to global peace whether you supported it or not), is unnerving. Here is a politician, receiving a prestigious global prize just for being. The press release from the prize committee cited his creation of “a new climate in international politics.” It further states “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.” Let’s summarize: Obama wins because he’s a pretty cool dude and people like him.
Whatever ideology one subscribes to, politics is a dirty game. It’s about how you talk and what you wear and who you know and how you can present yourself to a primarily apathetic populous who don’t bother to learn the issues, but know that they think you’d do a better job because you promised them you would. It’s a voter base that believes you must be doing the best thing for them because you look like too nice of a guy to slowly but surely cut away at the freedoms and principles that made this country great — and a voter base that, for the most part, won’t check to see if that’s true.