Exasperated citizens are sometimes overheard to say that the problem in Washington is with politics.
Not so fast.
The word itself offers an important lesson. It comes from the Greek word polis, meaning “city.” Politics, you see, is nothing more than the life of the city–or the life of the state, or nation. Anywhere one finds people one inevitably finds politics as we make our way as a community of persons engaging, arguing, and trading with one another.
The problem isn’t politics. Politics is as natural as breathing.
The problem is how we do our politics.
Our national leaders have a particular way of telling us what we want to hear, and we have a way of believing them. We enjoy having our ears tickled. Politicians have become experts at moving among us and telling our various component groups just what we want to hear. Every word is measured, offered carefully, and intended to inspire as many people as possible while offending as few as possible. At the same time they often spread rumors about their opponents instead of dealing with thorny issues.
In other words, politics is more about spin than truth. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to encounter a politician who said exactly what he or she actually thinks about an issue? With such a leader I believe most Americans would be so enthralled as to be quite forgiving for shortcomings and faults.