WHO or WHAT? Politicians or Ideologies?

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,
-Mila.

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Argentina’s Political Reality (I)

I think this is something interesting and important enough for me to make an effort and write yet something else in english -this might become an habit if I keep at it…

So, when you guys hear the word ‘politics’, what comes to your mind? I’m sure your definition will vary a lot, depending on where you were born and raised, and that includes your family, friends, etc. The variation I’m more interested in is, however, the location. Specifically, everyone’s country.
Why? Well, for starters, your view on politics will be at first defined by the politic system your country has. It’s not the same to live in a country with only a president, as to live somewhere with a prime minister and a queen, or somewhere where every desition is taken by a group of people, or where the person in the power hasn’t changed for decades (note: I’m not trying to say any of these are right or wrong). Do the people in your country vote for their representatives? How long does it last? Do you have a strong religious influence? All this will make a difference when you try to talk about politics.

Personally, I’m from Argentina. You know, that country at the end of the world? We’re far from everything, suffered from every kind of dependance towards the powerfull nations, been through mounstrous dictatorships, and yet we try oh so hard to deny all this. Actually, no, that’s kind of wrong. People, powerfull people, have been trying to fill a pre-made view of the world in our heads. The nice thing is, we’re starting to realise all this.

Political expression here in Argentina is a very controversial topic. You could say we have two well-defined sides to it: 1) those who probably have a political history in their family, or were suddenly interested by it, or introduced to it’s amazing world by someone, and now is either an active member of one of here’s many parties, or either someone who likes to maintain himself up to the news, and with a critic sense regarding it all, and 2) those who are uninterested, maybe because they don’t know much about it, maybe because they’re part of those people who were uncharmed by politics after 2001’s crisis, or by other similar event. As you can guess, there are many more variables to this, but that’s pretty much how it goes.
But, it’s not like you can just stay completely out of it all if you live here. Because of many of this country’s characteristics, being maybe that voting is an obligation, being maybe it’s history, in Argentina you’re bound to ‘know’ at least a little something about the nation’s political news. Specially recently.

You must be pretty confused after that part about the year 2001’s crisis. I mean, what could it have to do with militance in political parties? Well, I really don’t want to explain it all (and honestly, you can read about it if you’re interested -we’re pretty well-known for what happened), but the events that year lead to us, the people, making the president himself quit -he took off the presidential house in an helicopter in order not to be attacked-, and then to two weeks when we had around 5 different presidents, each lasting a few days in the power before resigning as well… Yup, those were pretty messy months.
So, after something like that, you can probably guess how we felt about politicians, huh…? Yeah.

A decade has gone by since those turbulent times, and now, believe it or not, there’s more political activity that in the last 4 decades or so. Specially with young people, like myself.

Why is this?

Right after all that fiasco, new elections were held to try and regain some normality. After some blablablah (I mean it. Read about it), doctor Nestor Kirchner was elected.
Noone really expected much from him after what we had just been through, honestly. Most thought he’d only last a few months before the same thing happened. But, believe it or not, Kirchner made something noone else would have even dared to. He’s the milestone, marking a before and after in our history, wether you agree with him, or not.

Now, I wont go into details of what he did, and what he didn’t do (I mean, this post is already long as it is) -just, take my word when I say: it was new, and that was awesome.

Ever since his influence started, that flame that lives in every argentinian came to life again, to either agree or disagree with him. It doesn’t really matter, as long as you can open your eyes to reality. That critical sense that had been dormant in out minds for so many years thanks to those who found that convenient, awoke again, to make my country and place of debate and freedom of expression, like I like it.

Now then, this affected both adults… And young people. And that’s where this whole post’s topic actually lies.

But I think I’ve extended myself for too long already -wich basically means, I’m too lazy to go on right now. So I’ll make this the introduction, part 1!

Tomorrow I’ll -probably- upload the next part, where I’ll talk about what I actually intended to… Sorry about that ^^.

Thanks for reading!

-Mila.