Thursday, June 8, 2017

Political Animals

The current malaise that seems to be enveloping this country will react to the hearings being televised and Tweeted, consumed and considered.  We have a President that lies and who's lack of concern for protocol seems to be catching up with him.  As expected, he tries to run the country like he runs his businesses.  He cares little for ethics and makes moral calculations that are sadly lacking.  This is what happens when you try apply one model to another.  In business, you can step on people.  It's done all the time, because "business is business."  When you work with people and have the power to impact lives while seemingly advocating for the greater good, you can't quantify issues and boil them down to what is most expedient.  With people there is supposed to be a human factor.  Human beings are emotional and in the words of Aristotle we are "political animals."
That does not mean we like politics, or that we are ever engaged in politics, it means more that we are social creatures.  As such it follows that we should have empathy for one another.

If political power is decision-making power, and I think it is, then an empathetic leader should be a necessity.  We don't always have one, and we certainly do not have one now.
What we seem to have a difficult time learning is that there are some specific characteristics about the people who seek public office.  They crave power.  The power to impact the lives of others.  I submit that if we look into their backgrounds we can find the reasons and that what fuels the drive for power will emerge.  Could be genetic or the product of their environment. Probably both, but they all seem to have the need to control, be at the helm, be the one who makes the call.
On the personal and political hierarchies of politicians, some of their core values get short shrift.  They shuffle their moral and ethical principles when necessary and parse words in ever fascinating and increasing ways.
It's often been said that all politics is local.  That seems to be a good indicator of how corrupt it can be.  Think of all the city councils and local police departments that have some sort of scandal right now.  It's a constant.  Something we continue to face day after day. Almost predictable.
I will not compare the current situation concerning the Trump presidency with Watergate.  There may be some similarities, but not enough to make the contrast worthwhile.  Instead I will offer the possibility that we learned a good deal back in 1973 and I expect we will learn a good deal more this time around.  If we incorporate that knowledge into our take away, perhaps we can save the fragile form of government we purport to adore.

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