Sunday, July 29, 2012

Puck on... Politics pt. 9


Surprised that I would bring such a subject up? The fact that someone like me would probably says something about how far you all have fallen, doesn’t it?

Yes, ethics. A word, admittedly, that does not often enter the discussion of politics. When it does, though, it’s usually by one side calling another out. Ionic, that you would only broker the concept when you feel someone else needs to follow it.

But what of ethics and politics? Does it enter into the equation at all? Should it?

I should think so.

Yes, you should. But the question beyond “should” is always “does”.  Does it?

Not often.

Yes, but keep in mind, we’re not talking about them, we’re talking about you. And what you have failed to realize is not that ethics and politics rarely run together, but that ethics and politics are mutually exclusive.

I can tell I’ll have to explain. You are in the world, but you are not called to be of it, are you?


And yet, one of the first points we established was that politics was of the world, intrinsically, genetically. So, the question is: do you even belong there?

Here, you would no doubt point out the benefits, the victories, the duties you hold to, which you have been going on about throughout this discussion. But that’s really beside the point. Of course you get something out of it. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t bother. The question of ethics is never what you get but what you do to get it, what you sacrifice to get it. Ends. Means. Why can you never learn this lesson?

Ah, ethics. It’s funny how easily you forget it. Sad, I should say. But really now, did you think there wouldn’t be rules? Requirements? Did you think you could do as you like and damn the consequences?

These are the questions you must answer, my boy. The questions they will ask, because they are watching. As I said from the start: how you conduct yourselves politically is moot, that you conduct yourselves politically is the real clincher. So, why?

I suppose we are not perfect.

True, but that excuse will run out eventually, mark my words. It is even now dwindling. You are not perfect. You have not yet overcome your human nature. You still seek power, control, influence, because your DNA cries for it like mother’s milk. But because of what you claim, you still like to call yourselves blessed, humble and sanctified. But it won’t work. You can’t stand atop the pedestal and still sink to their level. You think you can play the world’s game and still stand in judgment of it?

And this is a game. A grand, glorious, ghastly game. And the only way to win is-

To not play.

You got it. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Puck on... Politics pt. 8

What do you think of that?

You’re saying separation of church and state was made to protect us?


From what, exactly?

Why, the most powerful enemy imaginable. Yourselves.

So, the temptation of politics is too great.

The temptation for power is. And that’s the real problem. Power corrupts. You are no exception. Though you think you are. It’s the oldest story in the world. Told again and again, though you never listen. You never learn. Though you may start with the best of intentions, it doesn’t matter. It never will. No matter what you do. No matter what you aim for. Because the goal cannot redeem the measures you take to reach it. And if the measures be damned, what then? As long as that kind of power is the means, it will always corrupt the ends.

So, long ago, great men saw salvation in one simple act: self-denial.


Not very… American, is it? That shouldn’t surprise you. It’s not very human after all. That was what you said, wasn’t it? That you had a responsibility, a duty to what?

Make our voices heard.

“Make our voices heard.” Can you hear yourself talk? “Voices heard.”  That’s what you said.  “We have a responsibility to make our voices heard.”  But do you?

Don’t we?

Don’t you? Where are you drawing that particular responsibility from? Where is it written, that you must make sure people are aware of your opinions?

We live in a democratic society. As citizens, it’s our duty to participate. Because if we don’t-

If you don’t, someone else will. If you don’t, someone else will speak for you, will get there before you do, will have what you want. The heart of self-determination. Self. If you don’t speak yourselves, who will? Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps and make sure they pay attention to you. Make the world know you exist. Is any of this coming across as terribly mature? But that’s how you comport yourselves. That’s how everyone does. Your democratic society, where the goal is… Self. In all it’s glory. Don’t you see, why you are doomed to repeat the same mistakes?

Let me ask you this: if your definition of citizenship is making your voice heard then wouldn’t that mean that the goal of citizenship is selfishness? Ah, but this is a democratic society, where the people decide. Where the people decide how they are governed. But then again, if the people knew how they ought to be governed, then would they need government? So, what are we to make of democracy?

I’m not sure there’s anything we can make of it.

Giving up hope so soon?

No. I don’t argue with what you say about democracy. Maybe that’s why they say it’s the worse until you look at all the other options.

True! So, true. After all, if it involves people how high can our standards really be, hmm? But let’s not let that be an excuse. For you are called to higher things, are you not? You are called to be higher. To rise above the mundane, to the divine. The question still remains: what are you to do? Given the world you live in, the country, the state of the union, what are you to do? How now shall you live?

And here, as so often is the case, you miss the answer right in front of your nose. Oh, sweet, sad irony. That of all the things you forget that you should forget this one lesson.

What’s that?


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Puck on... Politics pt. 7

So, what’s the central issue here? Hmm? Is it backbiting? Gossip? Pride? (A personal favorite) What is it really? What is that defining sin that sits at the back of all your little play in politics? Lying? Hypocrisy? Close, but there’s something deeper, more profound and yet profoundly simple. You might be surprised to know it. Would you like me to tell you?


Control. Oh, it leads to all the others. It makes you into hypocrites, and pride is a chief component. But what it really is, deep down, is control. Or, to put it better: Power.

Ah, yes! And just like that we find ourselves come round again. Isn’t it amazing, laughably amazing how it all comes back to the simplest, oldest, pithiest answers?

And that’s what this is about. That’s what politics is really about. Power. Control. The ability to make someone else do what you want. That’s what politics provides, or what it is a means to. And power is what you are after. But why? What happened to the meek inheriting the earth? Hmm? Why seek power? Ah, but of course, you’re right. You have the truth, so you should have the power. It certainly shouldn’t fall into the hands of, gasp, non-believers. What kind of a country would that create? But you. You would be better. At the reins of power, think what you could do. What better countries you could make because right is on your side. How quickly you forget the simple truth. “Power corrupts.”

Ironic, isn’t it? All your talk of sin and salvation and what you are really trying to do is take away the very freedom and choice that makes either possible. Because when you are in power that is exactly the goal. You don’t call it that, of course. But it’s what you do. Take away options, so they have no choice but to pick you. And politics makes hypocrites out of you all.

And to think, how often, how many times in how many ways you have been warned. Why, they went so far as to put it on the books. Ah, but you hate that concept, don’t you? The great bugbear of your age: separation of church and state. How you hate that. How you denounce and decry it. For you see it as shackles and chains keeping you from the power you crave.

Funny. Has it ever occurred to you that the concept was coined for your protection?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Puck on... Politics pt. 6

You’re awfully quiet.  What do you have to say for yourself?


Don’t give up just yet; we’ve barely scratched the surface. Tell me something, does it surprise you that you could perform an action thinking it was for the best, thinking it would spread the word, bring about good things, and yet what you sacrificed in order to do it sullied the very victory you finally attained?


There’s a word for that you know: Pyrrhic victory. A quite succinct description of politics, don’t you think? At the end of the day, you may have gained much, but what has it cost you?

But how quickly you forget, or choose to forget. You follow these causes, these laws, these parties, these candidates, so feverishly. Does it not occur to you what sort of message you are sending, what sort of image this conveys? You, who hold the truth of the universe, embroiled in petty squabbles, no better than all the other rabble. No better? No, worse, for you ought to know better. Yours is a timeless ideal, and you rake it through the mud like it was a naughty child’s play thing.

Oh, I know what they would say. Perhaps not you, but others not so unlike you. They would say they don’t care what the world thinks, that they don’t put two cents on it, that they will stand for what is right even if everyone says it’s wrong. But is that the issue here? Hmm? Does it occur to none of you? Have you completely forgotten? That your actions can and do have an effect on the truth you are trying to convey? It may not matter how they think of you but should it not matter how they perceive your message? And if all they see is you, what sort of message will they perceive?

But still you hide behind your minor afflictions like a martyr, thinking the pebbles that peck you are well-earned badges of righteousness. Has it ever occurred to you that the world is not so far-gone yet that it will truly accept a hypocrite? Tolerate perhaps, but not support. Your “persecutions” in the public sector, if they even can be called that and not make a mockery of real martyrs, are not the result of your virtue but your pettiness, dare I say your worldliness. For the world will judge you by your convictions, your words, deeds and your rules. They will hoist you with your own petard the first chance they get. They may not be better themselves, but they have no tolerance for those who are supposed to be.

But you, or those not so unlike you, go right back to it. No matter the cost, no matter the consequences. They don’t care about what the world thinks, because they don’t care about the world. But that does make one wonder.

Aren’t those the people you’re trying to save?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Puck on... Politics pt. 5

I think I see your point.

Of course you do, you’re not an idiot. But what about my question?


What are we to make of that?

I don’t know.

You are a party. You’re not supposed to be, but that’s how you act. In all but name that is how you conduct yourselves. That does bring up the question-

Is that our mistake or is it just part of politics?

And you are beginning to understand. The answer, of course, is right in front of your nose. We’ve talked about it extensively. Have you forgotten, the old go-to of your species?

Us and Them.

Precisely. And where else could that philosophy thrive so prolifically as in the realm of politics? It’s written into the very rules of the game. And it is a game, boy. There are winners and losers and the maturity level of those playing often doesn’t rise much past that of children.

Some would still say that we could be useful there. That we ought to try.

Some would. But you still fail to see the danger. The kind of message you are sending. The damage you are doing just by playing the game.

What kind of damage?

I see I must give everything to you. Try and follow.

Let’s suppose that there is a piece of legislation. The particulars don’t matter, they rarely do. This piece of legislation happens to coincide with your philosophy, happens to follow your particular morality, and having it passed would mean that the laws of your land would greater reflect your truth. What would you do?

I would try to get it passed.


I believe in the truth.

And the truth is for the betterment of society, yes?

It is in each individual person’s best interests.

So, naturally it would be in the country’s best interest, yes?


So, let’s say you did try to get it passed. Not just you but all of your kind. Banded together, you use your not inconsiderable influence to lobby and march and speak out for this legislation. Faithful pundits taut the goodness of the law. Preachers encourage their congregations to exercise their right to vote in order to see this good law passed. All the while, you call this a good thing. At last, your kind exercising their rights. A chance to be good men and good citizens.

And, let’s say, you succeed. The law is passed. However, your public efforts to see this through have so offended those not in favor of this law that your reputation is quite ruined in their sight. So, while on the one hand you have successfully passed a rather small piece of legislation you have so ruined your “good” name as to make it difficult to pass another and certainly to make the world deaf to what you have to say on any other matter.

Let me ask you. Does that seem like a good idea? Does it seem worth the cost? Laws come and go, but your message, your ultimate truth, would you sacrifice that for this, for politics?

We shouldn’t. But I can see how we might.

Might? My dear boy, who said we were speaking hypothetically?