Friday, July 4, 2014

Politics is not for you

After having been involved in politics for years I have come to the conclusion that politics is not for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I fell in love with politics before high school, when I was younger than 15. For 10 years I talked about politics, thought about politics, and wrote about politics.

There were the inevitable setbacks. 2000, 2004, 2008 were all pretty depressing, along with every other year. But 2012 brought a new hope. Like a young boy raised by his uncle in a distant planet, this man could perhaps bring balance to the insanity around us.

I wrote blogs. I told my friends. I went to rallies. I put stickers on my car. I even hoisted the man above my shoulders as he crowd-surfed at a rally in Salt Lake City. It was our time. Victory was ours.

Then it fell apart. Election night came and went, and not only had we not won, we had not even garnered a fraction of what we had hoped.

I was completely and utterly distraught. What had it all been for? I even thought for a moment that I should let it all go, and give up on ever changing the political situation and just let the whole government go to hell in a hand basket made of federal reserve notes.

I went to my father with the frustration. It was one of those moments that we all have, when life slowed down, the air draws in, the movement of every leaf and door seems more poignant and memorable.

Here you may be expecting that my father told me: “You selfish kid. Politics is not for you, it is for everyone else. It is not about making yourself happy, it is about concern yourself with the success and happiness of others!”

Well guess what? He did not say that. He said something about how politicians only do what millionaire campaign contributors want them to do and vented his own frustration with the system and gave little hope it would ever change.

And guess what? He was right! Nothing will ever change! Before you think I am being sarcastic or cynical, let’s look at reality.

Just recently Northwestern and Princeton universities carried out a study to figure out how much the opinions of the general populace had on federal government policy. What was the result? None! Our opinions have essentially zero effect on what happens in government. Now, before I overstate, let me add a caveat. If you happen to be the CEO of a large corporation, or the head of a large Union, or run a hedge fund, then yes, you do have a say in government. In that case, your millions of dollars of donations actually do affect policy. But a 10$ donation to Republicrat A or Third-Party B? It does nothing. Sorry to be blunt, but your vote for Obama, or Romney, or Johnson, or whoever, does nothing.

You have zero effect on federal politics, so stop pretending like you do. Wake up! Politics is not for you! Unless you are prepared to donate a million dollars, you are like the football fan watching ESPN and thinking that the louder you scream the more points your team will score. Sorry, but no go.

Is there any hope of change and progress? Of course! But it won’t come through politics.

You change the world by how you treat your neighbor and friends and family, not by throwing name in a box. We end hunger by donating ten dollars to feed someone who is hungry, not by donating ten greenbacks to a narcissistic politician who claims he cares about the poor. I don’t know how to make this more clear: but we fix the problems we see in the world by fixing the problems we see in the world, not be using more guns and violence (i.e. government), nor by giving money to some idiot to use guns and violence (i.e. campaign contributions).

If you want to help the world, if you want to make people’s lives better, then for goodness sake go do it and stop wasting your time on politics as if you were going to change something.

You won’t, because politics is not for you. 

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