On Principled Politics


The US presidential election season is upon us, or rather, has been upon us for at least a while since it became clear that Republicans will have Romney as their candidate. Apparently, it’s on. Republicans convene next week to present their ideas and people to the world and so on. With all the unlimited resources the campaign season is characterized by the ever more evident indistinguishability between the candidates: often I find myself unable to tell who is behind a particular political ad until the name of the opponent is clearly identified. It has been like this for a long time, but I don’t think it was this bad in the previous cycles. The irony of this particular crisis of indistinguishability is that we are told that for once we have two clear choices. And yet these two “clear” choices are presented to the public in very similar conceptual forms: we love America, we want it to succeed, here is the best way. I suppose this is the clear result of running not on your principles but on the results of various polls – old people love Medicare, put yourself forward as a defender of it, unemployed want jobs, put yourself forward as the fixer of the economy, students are burdened with debt, put yourself forward as the defender of youth and future opportunities.

There has to be a lesson here: be vague to the point of such ridiculous emptiness that your audiences suspect that you are vague on principle, that you are no concerned with what appeals to them but already know what is good for them. “Trust me, I will save you from your woes, but if you ask me how, you express distrust in my ability to satisfy your needs and that is offensive. Only by relying me fully and completely can you be a voter deserving of my candidacy.”

2 thoughts on “On Principled Politics

  1. Right — well said. A kind of “illusion of the Master” — followed by inevitable disillusionment after the election.
    And yet — I can’t help thinking that *not voting* accomplishes even less than voting …

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