Nope, I still don’t do politics

Front page of 'Sun' newspaper, first issue, 1964 UK election race

Donald Trump’s political vision is bad enough but the media hoo-ha surrounding his presidential candidacy (and any other) is all down to the many millions of people engrossed in the sham that they call the ‘democratic’ process. That’s the real bad news right there—the masses willingly going along for the ride is the cherry on top of all the heart-wrenching injustices. I’ve previously mentioned Big Brother’s tactics but in this post I want to express my view of how the little people have a much bigger part to play than casting their ballots. After all, voter participation has long been anything but an exercise of an important civil right—it’s what keeps the fat cats laughing all the way to the bank.

Political affairs are perhaps unique in that they are as depressing as they are pressing. When considering our own responsibilities with regard to the suffering on the global level,
the most common response in my experience is, ‘I can’t change the world’. We can all empathize with that but it’s worth spelling out what it really means. I don’t think the logic here is that you have to be Superman to challenge the sociopolitical system. I take it more that people simply don’t have the answers, the persuasive power, to compete with the sensationalist spin that the politicians wield so well. Principles, rights and common values come easy but the sociological and psychological evidence of exactly where the spin starts and moral integrity ends, escapes us. And without this means, I’ve come to believe that society needs the news to be as black and white as the ink and paper of the front pages.

With that assumption in mind, there isn’t much point of another political rant. What I want to argue here is that you don’t have to be an evil anarchist or at all apathetic towards the underprivileged and downtrodden, to steer clear of mainstream politics. I say ‘mainstream’ because in broad terms we’re all political agents as members of society. And there’s no shortage of government-sponsored encouragement that capitalizes on the high esteem in which we hold our (concept of) democratic rights and duties. A campaign in the UK from back in 2005 springs to mind:

In reference to this campaign, Howker and Malik (2010, p. 154) remark, ‘It’s not that young people don’t do politics, it’s that modern politics doesn’t do young people.’ I share their sentiment, although I doubt that the youth are ready and eager to expound an alternative set of political theories. My point is that the current system (1) is not the sole embodiment of our civil values and responsibilities (nor our corruptive tendencies), and more importantly, (2) is fundamentally unprogressive in its function. It’s not that politics as we know it is a poor attempt at reform, it suppresses it. That’s the clincher for me.

As much as I like Obama’s character and the optimism of those who genuinely believe that all a better world needs is a high enough participation of the electorate, let me ask, what exactly can the political process achieve when it is driven and directed by the money? What chance does a moral cause have when the powers that be are unwilling to relinquish their wealth? So long as our knowledge is limited so as to effectively predetermine our votes, the political process can only serve to sustain the imbalance. Isn’t it that simple?

If I’m right, there’s no need to analyse anything here in much depth—any obstruction of moral progress is a bad thing, especially when it perpetuates greed, fear and deceit. I may sound like I’m attacking all those who willingly participate with good intentions, but this is simply a description of the situation and unless I’m mistaken in my line of thought so far, the onus must really be on-us all to make a change. The solution here is of course a very sticky issue and I’m not kidding myself into thinking otherwise. But the upshot is at least a matter of principle—either we have hope of preventing all manner of atrocities (that is, of a radical overhaul of the existing framework), or we accept powerlessness at the thought that our children could be the next victims. We may never foresee much progress, but as I’ve said before, whether we try or not is ultimately our choice to make. Personally, the pay-off is too big to pass up and the loss too big to accept.

So that’s what I have to say to accusations of apathy. As for avoiding all-out anarchy, as I alluded at the start, I don’t think the lack of progress has been entirely orchestrated but is more a product of opportunistic shenanigans as things naturally play out in human society. The key issue here for me is attitude. Doing what’s pragmatically sensible and necessary in order to maintain stability needn’t involve the frenzy we usually get from the political pundits and their subscribers. Moreover, simply making an ideological switch and taking a stance against the current system is enough to gear our energies towards productive ends. That would be half the battle won, enough to start making better things happen, I’m sure.

We all like to think that open-mindedness will lead us to unbiased conclusions about the headlines, that a strong will and a level head allows for immunity from the propaganda. Well, I think that’s true to an extent but there are only so many conclusions we can draw when we’re left in the dark, and it’s no coincidence that none of them ever shed enough light on the bigger picture. Unfortunately, what this means is that the best course of action is a negative one of maintaining the sort of scepticism I’ve been defending here. To claim that the (mis)information we’re given is worthy of anything else is merely wishful thinking.

Sorry about these summertime blues; (I’ll see if I can work on this in the coming months). Then again, there may not be anything ‘sunny’ about the record-breaking temperatures around the globe again this year.


Photo by ‘sandid’ / retouched

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2 Responses to Nope, I still don’t do politics

  1. George says:

    I think that politics as it is doesn’t do anyone. every 5 years we out a cross on a bit of paper for someone who we think will put most money in your pockets then we dont do politics for another 5 years except to complain about how useless those who do politics are. But occasionally like Brexit those who dont do politics get a chance to stick two fingers up at this who do politics and specially those who make money out of it. We awake from our apathy. Suddenly we see what those who dont do politics can actually do. Question is where now? Can a populist movement become a progressive one? Will it revert to type? Will it go crazy?

    • Andrew V says:

      Yes, ‘where do we go now’… My view is that better things will stick only when there’s an ethical dialogue at the core, so I will do all that I can to that end. I like to think that solutions will arise organically when we’re ready for that change (if ever). But of course, I wish I had some details! Come to think of it, perhaps it should be mandatory that politicians are as well travelled as you are! Thanks for your thoughts.

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