Just Politics is Not Just About Politics
When I write a “political” comment in my diary, I hear myself asking, over and over, “I didn’t start this diary to blow off political steam, did I?” It can be a struggle to find a positive tone even if the aim of my diary is simply to give myself an aide memoire.
Let me start where I am, where I will be today.
Why is our community such an interesting one? Is it that by living here we have found the time to appreciate the variety of ideas held by those we meet? Yes, I think so. We also have time to criticise (and often ditch) our own fancied speculations. Whether we admit it or not this local community to which I have taken time to explore, getting to know the residents, is a signpost for many on a personal road to deeper political maturity – here when we engage each other in informal conversation we learn to swim together through the tides of public debate.
We discover that political debate flourishes when discussion avoids reducing issues to two dogmatic sides: my preferred option and the view of those who will oppose me. We’ve passed that. We’ve grown up just a bit. We’re open to trying to see things, political things, from another’s point of view.
Of course we had better take note of the ongoing differences between light and dark, sweet and bitter, truth and error, wisdom and foolishness, peace and terror. But who is going to draw that line when we talk informally and insist that anything we say that has a connection to politics must sit on one or two sides?
Well, even by asking that question of myself, we know very well who says that. This bi-partisan ideology oils the two major electoral clobbering-machines. And it seems to be a global virus of many, many polities.
And these firms also also spend heaps of our money telling us in effect that a multi-party system can’t work. Translated into campaign rhetoric that reads: there is the view of our opponents which is wrong and there is ours, the only logical one to have. Take your pick!
In this way policies are defined by what is faulty in the approach of the other guy.
Does this show a lack of political courage; has it not lost perspective? Is it not deaf – and not only to others but also to itself. It avoids debate; it avoids cross-examining one’s own view. How boring. But then how demeaning; how unjust?
This dominant logic “gilds the lily” of its own self interest. It knows no self-denial in the interests of the greater public good. In bolstering this system it stifles the citizenship it needs to discover and which the country needs. Voting becomes a legal requirement by which each citizen has to choose between only two alternative forms of mis-representation.
So we enter a new way of “doing politics” – whether at Federal, State or Borough levels – inviting the already powerful “movers and shakers” in public governance to consider looking for a new and fresh approach. What about a re-think of political representation? We will keep on talking about politics, since just politics is not just about politics.
HD 8/2004 (update 19.7.17)
Henrietta Dubb, Christian citizen of the 21st century.