People like to use platitudes like “All politicians are bad” or “All politicians lie.” Most of the people who use these platitudes usually think they are somehow wise and profound in making these proclamations. 

When I hear or read these statements, I’m reminded of a bit that George Carlin did later in his career.  I am only paraphrasing but the basic gist was that we always complain that politicians suck.  But then Carlin muses, “Where do the politicians come from?” Do they just drop down to Earth from space crafts.  Do they just sprout up from the ground?  No, they come from among us.  They come from all 50 states.  They are walking among us and they grow up among us in our schools.  Those individuals running for office are the best that we have among us.  So we should really be saying that the Public sucks. 

The public sucks because those politicians are the best we have to offer.  If you are better, maybe you should be running for office.  Of course, it’s easier to just say that they’re all crooked or they all lie.  That’s really just intellectual laziness on the part of the speaker.  If you say “all politicians are crooks.” I don’t think “Wow, what a profound speaker!” I usually stop to make a private note of the intellectual laziness and mediocrity of that speaker’s mind.  They didn’t have anything original to say so they wallowed in a well-worn cliché.

I think most politicians start out with the belief that they can make a difference.  This applies to politicians whether they are liberal, conservative, libertarian, progressive, centrist, Democrat, Republican, Green party etc.  They start out with an agenda and then realize they have to win the election.  If we’re going to be honest about things, a significant portion of the American public wants politicians to lie.  They don’t want a politician to come in and say “We can overcome anything but it will be a long, difficult journey.” That would be the truth and we don’t want that.  We want the politician to lie to us and tell us that it will be easy.  We can then act with faux indignation when we find out they were wrong.

Politicians come from the public.  They come from among us.  So just remember when you use a platitude like “All politicians are liars” or “all politicians are crooks.” you are really saying as much about yourself as you are about them.  When we wallow in these dishonest platitudes, we impose victimhood on ourselves and then we find a convenient source of blame.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  We can make it better.  Of course, that would require that we do a little independent thinking.  It would also require that we recognize that it will be a long, difficult battle.  It won’t be easy but it can be done.  I can’t make anyone reject mediocre thought process.  I can only put the suggestion on the table.  The choice is yours to make. 


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allets's picture

Some Lie

Some are oathbreakers. Some keep their optimism, and their dignity.