Day 168 Question 168:
Do you believe there is such thing as an honest politician?
Well it is that time in our nation when politicians go head to head in the democracy ring. Honestly, I HATE this time. I detest all of the negative political ads where politicians bash each other and tell us all of the things their opponent is doing “wrong” but not once do they state what they themselves are doing “right”. Do I believe that there is such thing as an honest politician? No, I do not. I believe politics has become a game and the people of this nation have been forgotten. Yes, my words are blunt but it is how I feel. I believe that almost any politician can be paid off it is means they are going to make more money or hold more power. I find it mind-blowing how politicians will act (well just some people in general) in order to obtain power. Were these the guys in high school that were picked on so now they have to prove that they are the big dogs?
I will admit 100% that I am not as well versed on politics as I should be. I guess I am just so sick of hearing about all of the negatives…and that is pretty much all politics is. It is a constant battle of he said/she said…well mostly he said/she said since there are very few women in the political game. I watched a very interesting documentary the other day (for the life of me I cannot remember the title) and it had to do with politicians that were caught in same-sex acts yet when it comes to voting on certain issues they have all voted against same-sex marriage, gay adoption, hate-crime protection. They are not true to themselves. How can we the people trust them to be true and honest to an entire nation? There are several politicians that have cheated on their spouses and they have taken vows. Maybe I am just naïve but if someone cannot even hold up their end of the bargain in marriage, what is to make me believe that they will hold up their end of the bargain to do what is in the best interest of this country??? I think a majority of politicians are only looking out for #1. I think it is gross that these political campaigns cost the amount that they do…when our country is already suffering financially. I am sick of opening my computer and seeing different articles about which celebrity Obama is hanging out with today. Really??? He is so desperate to win this election that he is going to buddy up to celebrities knowing that a lot of the population can be easily swayed by their favorite celebrities.
Yes, this entry would seem like a negative rant. I guess in a way it is. I just have become disappointed with the direction this country has taken. We have this great potential but I believe it is being wasted. Instead of coming together, the political system is driving us further apart. I guess I just believe in honesty and trying to do the right thing without causing a big uproar. I don’t understand why these powerful political figures feel that an argument and a fight is going to solve the problem. People are going to think the way that they choose no matter how much they are told that they are wrong. I worked in nonprofit for several years and I now refuse to go back to the county I worked in because there is absolutely no change occurring (positive changes) and there are far too many chiefs and not enough Indians. No voices are ever heard and too many people want to be in power and no one wants to work together…even though 4-5 different organizations are doing the exact same thing. God forbid we pool the money and work together….that would mean some people would need to step down from their titles and we know that it not going to happen.
Politics has made this world a very ugly place. I do understand we need to do something to avoid mass chaos but politics has become so ridiculous. People are unable to even speak nowadays without being slapped on the hand and told that they are being politically incorrect. When did it all get so out of hand? We go into other countries to fight in war and we can’t even get along in our own country. We are divided on almost every issue. It is quite sad. I know it seems like I am being really negative in this post….I guess I just don’t understand why things are the way that they are.
I found an article on the issue that I wanted to share. I apologize for my negativity…I just have to admit that I detest when the time comes of political campaigning and I feel like as time goes on the more dishonest and crooked we are finding politicians to be.
Dishonesty in Politics
Politicians are notorious for never giving a direct answer to anything. Why do we let them get away with this? Presumably they only do it because it works for them — perhaps they can’t risk providing their opponents with a juicy quote to exploit, so instead they merely waffle. But this can’t be good for democracy. We should be looking for ways to change our political culture so that sincerity is rewarded and disingenuity discouraged. We need to get the incentives right.
This means that journalists need to be willing to ask the hard questions. And if the politicians start to give misleading or waffly answers, they need to be called on this, interrupted, and told to state their position clearly or else shut up. If politicians are obviously being dishonest, then analysts shouldn’t hesitate to point this out, loud and clear, shaming the liars and forcing them to own their words. (Blogs are generally good for this much, if nothing else, as demonstrated by recent posts on Frogblog and No Right Turn, for example.)
Just as important, we should be willing to accept politicians who own up to making a mistake. When Labour makes a u-turn, they shouldn’t try to hide the fact. They should stand tall and say, “Yes, our past policy was stupid, for reasons x, y and z. That’s why we’ve changed it to this new policy which avoids these problems because of p, q and r. We’re here to promote what’s best for the country, and we’re not too proud to let our past mistakes get in the way.” (Of course, if they can’t offer any such explanation — say, because the new policy is actually no better, but is simply an opportunistic vote-grabber — then they shouldn’t be proposing the policy in the first place.)
My opinion of a politician would actually improve were they to make such a frank admission. But I guess I mustn’t be the average voter. Besides, no doubt partisans would jump all over such an admission, and use it to paint the politician as “incompetant” or a “flip-flopper” or some other nonsense. To any bloggers reading this who would be tempted to behave in such a fashion, I ask you simply: please don’t. You’re damaging the quality of political discourse. Just don’t do it.
Perhaps late-night blogging lends itself to misplaced idealism, but I simply cannot comprehend why we tolerate such unclarity in our political discourse. Surely our current political culture is not by necessity so muddled. We could make it better. So why don’t we?
Politicians should be exposed not just for dishonesty, but also illogic. An example that springs to mind is Rodney Hide telling National supporters to vote ACT instead because National “can’t govern alone” and so will need ACT there as support. But of course what matters isn’t the number of parties, but the number of seats obtained by the left vs right blocs. If National loses seats to ACT, that will do nothing at all to make a National government more likely. Rather, what National needs is for the center-right to get as many seats as possible, however they are distributed. So Hide’s argument is simply illogical. (There are complications regarding the 5% threshold which I won’t get into here. Suffice it to say that while there are possible situations where it would benefit National to sacrifice some of its votes to ACT, that is an entirely different argument from the idiotic one that Hide was presenting — which quite literally consisted of nothing more than the premise “National cannot govern alone”, from which he tried to derive “so National supporters should vote for ACT instead”. And he gets away with it too. Pitiful.)
There are some issues that are genuinely difficult, and we can’t expect any easy answers to them. But for others, it really isn’t that hard to come to the truth if one is willing to think critically. Politicians and partisans defend obvious falsehoods all the time. It shouldn’t happen. They ought to be exposed as either stupid or dishonest. Once we’re all agreed on the easy questions, then we can concentrate on disputing the hard ones. And if we continue to hold each other up to the high standards of reasoned discourse, then perhaps some real progress might be made. So why aren’t we doing this?