There is something about the way people treat politics that I have never fully understood. More specifically, it bothers me how easily people blame all their problems on politicians.
We demonize them, accuse them of sinning against humanity, make them responsible for absolutely all our troubles, and peek into their private lives to condemn them for their mistakes.
Now, while I won’t deny many politicians deserve a mob to raid them off their priviledged positions… Guys, it seems like we’re forgetting the whole meaning behind democracy. WE choose our representatives in the government.
My thoughts regarding the subject started when I was very young. I usually talk a lot about the 90′s and 00′s, when everything here went to hell.
I remember watching people on TV curse the president(s) with all their might, call for the people to go to Plaza de Mayo (from where the president governs), and manifest there, bring the people responsible out. In 2001, Fernando de la Rúa had to leave the place in a helicopter.
“Que se vayan todos” came to be the words by which that time in history will be identified forever -at least to me. “We don’t need politicians”, “they are all corrupt”, “we’re better off without politics”.
Now, granted, those were times of terrible social drama. Many people crossed the poverty line during that time. The manifestations were incredibly violent, and many people died at the hands of the repressive police body.
It was such a traumatic experience for everyone, to the present day there are still social groups that claim to be a-politic with pride holding their heads up, as if that was a compliment to their honor.
Again, I’m not defending the bastards that lead my country to its worst crisis; nor the rest of the corrupt people governing the world through history, and even right now. But I must admit that it’s shocking how people lay the blame so easily on the most visible faces, before looking a themselves and thinking “well, I did vote for the bastard”.
Moving away from my country for a little, where things now are anything but a-political, I find people behave in similar, yet slightly different ways in places like, for example, the US.
Just the other day I found an article that presented the readers with the following question: “how can the people trust a political leader that is known to have cheated on his/her marriage?”. It seemed odd to me that anyone would connect both issues.
I don’t care about this or that politician’s marital life. I care about them being politically honest and similar to my views, and to act according to their ideology. Whatever happens between they and their partners is honestly none of my business.
People might argue: “ah, but if he isn’t loyal to his/her wife/husband” -or something of the sort- “then how can you expect him to be loyal to his ideals?”. Well, since when do they have to be related? If you learned that the cashier at the supermarket is cheating on his wife, would you stop going to that supermarket?
People seem to forget all too often that the political life of politicians is their job. Sure, it’s a complicated world, there is a lot at stake, and they have a lot of personal involvement on it. But it is separated from what happens inside the walls of their homes.
And yet, the media obsesses with stuff like that.
The reason I’m bringing this up, is because I whole-heartedly believe that this way of thinking truly hurts politics. It ends up personalizing political ideals, and that is the worst thing you can do -and one of the points where I differ from peronism.
I think that it’s good to admire politicians, and to support them -but what you really need to fight for is not a leader, but an ideology. People are finite, and imperfect. Ideals can embrace people through generations and bring them together for the future. Depending on a single person is not a smart strategy on a long-term basis.
We need to stop treating politicians as celebrities, as saints, as demons, and start seeing them as what they’re supposed to be: representatives of a political party of this or that ideology.
I don’t know, this really bothers me.
During the year I was chosen to be the student’s centre’s president, I attended many reunions with lots of other centres, and their representatives. There, I saw the same mistake being committed over and over again, only in a slightly different way: the question they wanted to answer was “who are we fighting against?”.
I would usually stand up in the middle of heated discussions of blame being thrown here and there, only to say that looking for an enemy was what a short-sighted organization would do. That we need to find an ideology that represented all students, objectives to fight towards. Sure, it’d be more difficult, because building is always more complicated than destroying. But, in the end, it would be worth it…
Of course, I was epicaly ignored by most people, who only cared about pushing their parties’ structure further into our students’ organizations. Now-a-days these organizations are a mess, and I’m fully convinced that this way of approaching the political fight is one of the main reasons that’s true.
I guess that seeing how that worked was what has kept me from joining a party and working inside it. I love politics, and I want to contribute, but… Being smart.
If political involvement will mean being told who to idolize and who to demonize, then I’m better off walking my own path, even if alone.
What do you think? Is politics all about the ideas, or all about the face who’s representing it? Why?
Thanks for reading my mess,