I read an interesting article last night. The title caught my attention – “Why does America get fooled into thinking elite insiders are actually outsiders.” It’s by Matt Lewis. Matt is a guy who knows politics very well.
Matt makes some very good observations about how certain politicians and politicos are spun as outsiders when in fact they live and breathe and make their living in politics and have for many years. It’s an interesting thing that happens certainly in the US, but I would guess it happens elsewhere too. Although, I’m not sure other countries value the “outsider” status as much as voters in the US do.
I’m not exactly sure why either. I’ve never been persuaded by the “outsider” status. Then again, I’m not thrilled by “insider” status either. It really depends on the person – are they arrogant about being an insider? One thing that really gets my goat is arrogance in politics.
So how about this whole “outsider” thing? I usually see it as campaign rhetoric designed to make it appear that the person running for office could be your neighbor so that they can get your vote. Really? People actually fall for this. Yes, someone who is running for US Senate could be my neighbor, because, you know, that’s realistic. NOT! Unfortunately, we’ve gotten to a point in the US where we have a professional political class.
Even though I’ve done politics for many years, I don’t have an answer for this, or rather answers for this. I don’t think the country can do just one simple thing and solve the problem. We can’t even agree on what the problem is as a nation. Is the problem that politicians can get elected without a term limit. Gosh, I wish it was only that easy. The problem, as I see it, is not easy to define. And given the propensity for so many people to think in short 30-second soundbites when it comes to politics, solving the problems becomes a bigger challenge.
I know that this last statement may sound arrogant, as if I’m better than others, but I didn’t exclude myself here either. Plus, if I asked you to define what a debate was, I’m guessing most people would describe it the way Presidential debates are done – ask a broad question, give the person 2 minutes to answer using quick memorable sound bites that can reported on the next day’s new cycle. Of course nothing actually was resolved, but gosh, don’t we all feel better about ourselves?
Is money in politics the problem. I don’t think it is as big a problem as the issue is made to me. I think it is a symptom of something much deeper actually. Limiting the amount of money in politics won’t actually solve anything, as far as I am concerned. People always find ways around such restrictions.
I think the problems that we see in the American political system are not talked about. I don’t think people know how to talk about them. It would require some self-examination. Instead, it’s much easier to look outside of ourselves and point to something “out there” as the problem. It’s always easier to “fix” something outside of ourselves. But until we are willing to look inward, these problems will continue. Until we are willing to examine our selves, everything else we try will only be a distraction away from our own faults, pains, etc. Politics can’t save us. The sooner we recognize this, the better. The sooner we start looking differently, the better. We have a choice. We can choose to continue to do the things we have done for generations and expect different results (the definition of insanity), or we can choose a different path.