Monday, July 8, 2013

Politics makes for inconsistencies

How hard is it to maintain a single political view? For example, the government was right to step in and enforce integration and racial equality (after denying it for so many years) back in the 60's. But should the government also be mandating emergency contraception for all females (regardless of age)? How does morality fall into that? It makes for strange politics at best and will seemingly always be inconsistent.

As some readers of this blog may have discovered, I am, among other things, an avid follower of politics and international relations, particularly as they relate to both the US and China. I find politics to be a fascinating process, if occasionally mystifying, sometimes unsavory and periodically perplexing. Looking even beyond what the politicians say and how they often seem to perform amazing mental and logical acrobatics to support positions that seem contrary to their stated views, the electorate who are most key to the process of politics are no less elastic in their own views and their votes. In some ways, I suppose that makes sense seeing as how the process seems to work in real life.

What should often be a straightforward, rational and logical process often ends up, much as math fractions reduced to their lowest common denominator, as something that in no way resembles anything approaching a straightforward, rational or even logical solution. The reason for this often seems to be a severe inconsistency that exists in how people rationalize their stated beliefs to fit within  the reality of their lives. This exists on both the individual level of the citizens as well as at a higher level within the various structures of government and its representatives.

These inconsistencies, of course, exist throughout every aspect of life but seem to be particularly pronounced within the political realm. Within the American political discourse, it is not unusual to see Democrats who argue passionately for increased government intrusion into the lives of individuals in order to benefit everyone simultaneously argue that government should stay out of women's bodies as it pertains to the argument of abortion. Similarly, Republicans who may struggle to make ends meet, often working in jobs with no form of protection from companies who unilaterally (and sometimes seemingly arbitrarily) will layoff workers with no form of recompense, will rail against unions that helped to establish many of the laws that protect workers today. These positions make little sense when observed from an objective point of view yet they are tightly held by their proponents who see no inconsistency in them.

When challenged, they will defend those positions and not see how they contradict their own lives or experiences. Or they will recognize it but refuse to admit it as it is easier to deny a truth than it is to accept that your views and your choices are inconsistent. Either way, it makes politics a difficult way of life. And while I may enjoy the study of politics, the practice of it often leaves me amazed and not a little dismayed at times. It is easy to sometimes see why so many people choose to ignore it altogether.

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