All politics stink. Even democracy stinks. Imagine if our clothes were selected by the majority of shoppers, which would be teenage girls. I’d be standing here with my bellybutton exposed. Imagine deciding the dinner menu by family secret ballot. I’ve got three kids and three dogs in my family. We’d be eating Froot Loops and rotten meat.
But let me make a distinction between politics and politicians. Some people are under the misapprehension that all politicians stink. Impeach George W. Bush, and everything will be fine. Nab Ted Kennedy on a DUI, and the nation’s problems will be solved.
But the problem isn’t politicians — it’s politics. Politics won’t allow for the truth. And we can’t blame the politicians for that. Imagine what even a little truth would sound like on today’s campaign trail:
“No, I can’t fix public education. The problem isn’t the teachers unions or a lack of funding for salaries, vouchers or more computer equipment The problem is your kids!”
That’s from PJ O’Rourke. And he’s right. I have no fondness for politicians; readers know that I have little faith in having “the right guy/gal” getting elected and making things right. Readers also know that “big-plans” just don’t do it either. I dare utter the words individual responsibility, culture, education, discipline, morality!!! But those things don’t fit nicely into a model, nor do they “rally the base” and pick up votes. The thing to do, if I were to be asked, is to place less energy and faith in political institutions and more energy and faith in private organizations of all sorts. They can be simple: t-ball leagues, religion, soup-kitchens, book-clubs, trail-maintainence, etc.