Sunday, June 24, 2012

Puck on... Politics pt. 4

I told you we set traps, boy. And here is fertile ground. A veritable minefield.

You lure us into politics?

Oh, I wouldn’t say lure. It makes it sound so degrading. And give yourselves some credit. I mean we didn’t really invent it. Government, politics, democracy. You thought these up yourselves. Do they seem like something we would condone?

I think you would condone anything you could turn to your own devices.

Ah-hah! You have it! I have taught you well I see. You are quite right. It’s not so much what we make but what we can use. And there are lots of things, lots of things that fall into that category. Because, of course, it matters not the means but the skill to work it to your own ends. And, as I said, politics is rich territory. As an institution, it breeds conflict, nurtures subterfuge, praises ends over means. Why there’s often very little we have to do to really take advantage of it. Especially in recent years. It’s getting to the point where they don’t even hide it anymore. Why, it is common practice for your candidates to change their tune depending on whose favor they’re trying to curry. So commonplace as to be expected, tolerated and, in some ways, even encouraged.

Rich territory, indeed.

Yes. And yet, you would have me think that it is a place you and your kind ought to tread? Ah, but of course, you’re trying to redeem it. But are you? Can you? Is there redemption for politics?

You’re saying there isn’t?

I’m saying if you ever actually did or could, wouldn’t it cease to be politics? Setting aside, for the moment, whether or not you should, let’s address whether or not you are even trying to.

I think some people are.

And are their efforts meeting with success?

I don’t know how we would measure that.

Well, that does make it hard to figure whether or not you’re doing anything constructive, doesn’t it?

I suppose.

Well, let’s see if we can figure out some sort of rubric, then, shall we? Let’s see. Perhaps, if more laws that followed your specific moral stance could be passed, that would count, wouldn’t it?

I suppose.

Or if your kind had more freedom to voice your beliefs in the public forum, that would be a good sign, right?

I suppose.

If more people were elected who subscribed to your faith?

I suppose.

Maybe, if the overall bent of the government was towards your morality and away from some secular one; how about that?

I suppose.

Ah, but how exactly is any of that different from a political party? You want laws that follow your way of thinking, to have more people elected who are a part of your group, to have more people hear your opinions, to have the institutions of government under your control. Why, it seems that you’ve reduced your truth to a political platform and your kind into little more than a lobby group. What’s the difference? How exactly are you standing out from all the other politicos with their heads up their-?

Ah, but you’re right! That’s it. The difference between you and them is that they’re wrong and you’re right! So, it doesn’t matter if you use the same methods because the agenda you’re pushing is the correct one. And, of course, the ends always justify… the means.

Oh my. It seems we’ve wandered into a moral quandary.

Have I made a misstep? Tricked you in any way? Or have I just uncovered the little lie that you all have been telling yourselves this whole time? Now, what are we make of that?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Puck on... Politics pt.3

And do you see now the error of your ways?

Educate me.

Gladly.  You, your kind, your people have the truth, correct?  The unequivocal, irrevocable truth of the universe.  Isn’t that what you believe?


And this truth, it is timeless, correct?  Beyond the scope of individual ages, ever-present, constant, ever-meaningful, continuously applicable.  Yes?

That’s what we believe.

And you don’t think it’s a bit contradictory, even hypocritical to tie this truth to a system that is, by its very nature, as changeable and timely and fickle as anything else?  You don’t think it represents a conflict of interests to have something that claims to be older than time itself connected with something that changes with the winds?

You do begin to see my point, though, don’t you?  You talk of civics, of responsibility, we’ll get to that later.  Explain this.  Explain what business the meaning of life has with parties, with factions, with capricious platforms that shift with opinion.  Go on.

I suppose, some would say, that the point is not to engage the system but to change it.

But can you?  Your faith speaks of new creations, of new heavens and new earths and new men to fill them.  Different men.  Men changed from the sloppy, sinful things they are.  But politics, where’s the redeeming quality?  It is a system that is built, founded on man as he is, no better, because it does see men as better, it does not expect men to be.  It can’t.  You want to redeem it?  Would you redeem backbiting and gossip and inconstancy?  Are these not politics?  Mudslinging and the breaking of vows?  Because you must take it all.  We are not in a world of ideals, my boy; these are the realities. 

It is a beast.  You can defeat it or accept it.  But if you wish to talk about redeeming it, you may as well talk about redeeming sin itself.  Even I can see such things are nonsense.  Can’t you?

But forgive me my rough speech; I am only trying to educate you as requested.  You were actually quite accurate in your statement.  That’s the trick, you see.  The worst thing you can do to truth, especially universal truth, is not to deny it but to act like it is less than it is.  Oh, wasn’t there some line, about “pearls before swine”?

And don’t you wonder, where you learned that trick?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Puck on... Politics pt. 2

Are you saying we shouldn’t be involved in politics?

Are you saying that you should?

Well, I think we have an obligation, not just out of civic duty but responsibility, to participate, to make our voices heard.

Oh, you should watch your choice of words, child.  You may have to eat them later.  But for now, let’s deal with a more important word issue.  We are talking about politics, not government.

What’s the difference?

Oh my dear boy!  The fact that you’re convinced they’re synonymous shows just how far afield you are.  Oh, I’m sure, back in the day, when the Greek was better understood, it really meant “the people”, that it really was about them.  But you have to pay careful attention to words, because they do have a habit of changing definitions on you without changing usage.  Language, it’s such a fluid concept.

Government, or shall we democracy, is the mechanism, the science, as it were.  And, at bottom, it’s really how the system ought to function, hypothetically, if all things were equal and well maintained.  But the reality, how the machine actually functions, ah, that is where politics comes in.  Why the change, you may ask?  Why shouldn’t they be the same?  Well, one is theory, the other is practice.  Government comes from a book.  Politics comes from the people involved.

Oh, perhaps I’ve misjudged.  Maybe the word is closer to the original meaning, albeit twisted slightly.  After all, it is people, isn’t it?  That’s where the whole thing goes to pot.  It’s fine on paper.  But, in practice, it involves people, fickle little monsters that they are.

In any case, that is what we are dealing with.  You can talk political science all you would like, but in the end, the beast is politics, and it you must vanquish or appease.