Friday, December 20, 2019

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Political Malpractice?

Once upon a time, political life was regarded as public service
and a noble activity. In recent times, that sentiment reached a
rhetorical summit with the 1961 inaugural address of President
John Kennedy when he summoned the post-war generation of
Americans to think about what they might do for their country.
Of course, real public service cannot be reduced just to
sentiments or other high-flown language. Real public service is
made of good practices which benefits public needs.

We are currently living through an age of contempt for the
political life, the life of good public service. In the abstract, this
quality of public service is often portrayed as “self-less,” but
true selflessness is rarely found in the real world. A better
adjective might be “enlightened”--- in the sense of serving
real-life principles, often sacrificing something while also
receiving something in return. That is why compromise is so
often part of good public service, and why civility is so often
called for. Civility, of course, can be empty rhetoric, but in the
service of the public good it is much like the necessity of
lubrication in a car  --- moveable parts face natural friction.

Today, we have no small amount of moveable political parts at
work, but very little lubricating maintenance. The inevitable
result is machine breakdown or political stalemate.

Fortunately, there is available a regimen of healthy political
operation, but it is made of complicated components, including
the U.S. constitution, the rules of law and public order, national
instincts for decency and compassion. Employing these
successfully is no easy task. Contempt. confrontation and
discord are usually easier and more satisfying in the moment ---
and more attention-getting, especially in a cyber-intoxicated
political environment. They can lead to political malpractice.

There is also one true remedy for circumstances such as we
now face. It is is called voting. One citizen. One vote. Every other
remedy, in a time like this, is contrived, artificial and unable to
bring resolution.

The British have just demonstrated how voters can sort matters

The political farce we are now observing will not bring any
serious resolution.

Ten months from now, those citizens who vote will do so.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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