Do I really have to write about politics? (Now with Obama-esque stuff, links and a really cool pic . . .)

Posted on 01. Sep, 2009 by in Uncategorized

no-politics(Thanks to one of our great classmates for pointing out my folly of not mentioning something about the Obama administration.   How could I forget that?)

When Professor Beinart emailed us last week with our first politically based op-ed assignments, I immediately replied to him with a question: “Are we going to spend the entire semester writing about politics?”

Then he handed out our syllabus and told us about our semester long blog today . . . “The Obama Presidency.”  Oh boy.  Here we go.  Politics.

As I looked over the document, I realized the unavoidable truth regarding this class – – in order to pass, I have no choice but to write about the subject I severely despise.

Some people look at me strangely after I make this proclamation.  They often ask me, “Why such venom?  You can’t really despise politics.  Maybe dislike, but not despise.”

Oh no, maybe you didn’t understand me, I tell them.  I viscerally abhor the political system.

I mean, how could I not hate a system that caters to the needs of the privileged and wealthy while millions of Americans remain homeless and hungry?

Why should I care about a government where political squabbling and mudslinging prevents its representatives from dealing with the state of the Union?

Why should I respect a system that fosters lobbyist glad-handing, pork lined Senate bills and representatives more concerned with kickbacks than trials and tribulations of those they represent?

Hey, what’s not to love?

Lord Acton once said, “Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely.”   While time has morphed this quote into a cliché, it cannot transform the severity of its message: no matter how well intentioned a politician may be before he enters office, positions of power tend to make individuals ignore their moral compass when they need it the most.

Just take Richard Nixon for example.  While President of the United States, Nixon, who also served as Vice-President under the Eisenhower administration, accomplished much – –  he ended involuntary drafting into military post-Vietnam, helped NASA send American astronauts to the Moon and broke through the red Communist wall by visiting China in 1972.

Yet, what is he remembered for most?  The Watergate scandal and rightly so.   In the end, despite all the good Nixon accomplished, he eventually allowed his position of power to intoxicate him, impairing his sense of judgment when he needed it the most.

Folks, the political system is like a black widow spider – – once she has her way with you, it’s only a matter of time until she snaps your neck and throws you away.

Or, if you’re really lucky, she’ll turn you into a  lobbyist for big tobacco.

Maybe I’ll have a change of heart by the end of  Obama’s first year of office.   It’s all about hope and change and all that jazz, right?

Will covering the Obama administration’s for state sponsored health care make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside?  Will this experience turn me into a card carrying politico dynamo?

Tune in next time, true believers, to find out.

7 Responses to “Do I really have to write about politics? (Now with Obama-esque stuff, links and a really cool pic . . .)”

  1. jack.styczynski

    02. Sep, 2009


    You da man.

  2. nicholas.martinez

    03. Sep, 2009


  3. kaili.boyd

    04. Sep, 2009

    This is why you are awesome!

  4. heather.chin

    04. Sep, 2009

    Bravo, Nick, for writing a clever, hilarious and completely viable op-ed on politics! Special kudos on the black-widow spider reference.

  5. Joe Walker

    06. Sep, 2009

    I think the reasons you cite for not being interested in politics are exactly why you should be interested. It sounds like you care about your society, and politics are the way that societies are determined to a large extent.

    This is from 1971.

    Well, let’s move over now to the second part of the discussion, to politics. First of all I would like to ask Mr. Foucault why he is so interested in politics, because he told me that in fact he likes politics much more than philosophy.

    I’ve never concerned myself, in any case, with philosophy. But that is not a problem. [He laughs.)
    Your question is: why am I so interested in politics? But if I were to answer you very simply, I would say this: why shouldn’t I be interested? That is to say, what blindness, what deafness, what density of ideology would have to weigh me down to prevent me from being interested in what is probably the most crucial subject to our existence, that is to say the society in which we live, the economic relations within which it functions, and the system of power which defines the regular forms and the regular permissions and prohibitions of our conduct. The essence of our life consists, after all, of the political functioning of the society in which we find ourselves.
    So I can’t answer the question of why I should be interested; I could only answer it by asking why shouldn’t I be interested?

  6. robert.voris

    07. Sep, 2009

    The political system may be like a black widow spider, but the only way to change it is through the political system. Despite what the conspiracy theorists might say, the system is not larger than human beings. Human beings thought it up and have tinkered with it for all of recorded history. Does the political system favor the powerful? Absolutely. Know why? Because they engage it most often and at the greatest volume. Conspiracy theorists aside, we don’t yet live in a Fascist state, nor in a broken system. Fascism is best seen now in China, while broken political systems are seen in every country where a leftist revolution devolves into a military dictatorship that leads to another revolution that leads to another dictatorship that leads… Dissatisfied with the state of the country or its political machinations? Speak up. The First Amendment protects you. Do so well enough and people might actually listen to you. Get enough people listening to you and they might actually do something to help the homeless and hungry. They have in the past. Many times. It’s not like food stamps were created on the eighth day.


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