Today, when I saw President Obama take the stage at the White House to answer some questions, I instantly had the idea and urge to write this post. The President started out talking about the American economy, praising how it had created 200,000 new jobs in July, and how he has personally tried to raise minimum wage and make the working class family's life better but was overruled (yet again) by the Conservatives. Of course Mr Obama also had to touch on immigration, shaming the Conservative Party some more. And I thought he was going to answer some questions about a breach in Israeli cease-fire, how foolish of me. There is certainly a lot to be annoyed by in politics but who actually turns away? Today, I imagine, it's an unemployed father of 4 who has to listen to his President praising progress while a Puerto Rican family moves in next door. What would all that progress be for the father?
I am, of course, in a similar situation here. During the campaign in May of this year I heard Martin Schulz raise concern about youth unemployment in Europe about a hundred times and each time I was touched because it deeply affects me. Yet, he's talked about it for years and I still don't have a job. Unfortunately, it's our own lives we use to measure success. If we're doing well our vote would tend to stick with the party that got us there, and if we're not we might seek change. What goes on in the rest of the country doesn't matter as much as the resolution of our own problems. People who have never seen politics improve their hardship are therefore likely to turn away all together. What difference can a single vote make, right? Of course that is a false assumption, however, I can see why people feel like nothing ever changes no matter how or if they vote.
I understand why people are getting frustrated with politics though. It's exactly that progress that Obama touched on once again this morning that must come as a slap in the face to all those who would love to be one of the 200,000 people with a new job. And politics is such a slow moving topic that a person with a general interest in it would probably fail to realize that things don't happen overnight. Rather, they take days, weeks or years, if at all, to actually finalize. It's because we believe in democracy and with all that freedom comes a long way for potential changes to happen. Democracy's little sister is bureaucracy and, unfortunately, hierarchy. We have closed the road on fast changes and individuals making a difference when we said goodbye to authoritariansim. While we are now free from the threat of tyranny we are also unable to push through drastic changes that some countires may require.
The disillusionment of politics comes from unrealistic expectations. Every election we expect change and does it ever occur? Bummer! We're told that democracy means that we can get involved in politics. Spreading this idea should be amended because it's not neccessarily true. Yes, we have a vote in a democratic system but it's not even too far off to assume that one vote doesn't rock the boat. Then, they say, we can all run for office but that's not true either. Social backgrounds and personality play a role. I would probably have a background now, after my studies, to successfully run for an office, however, my personality is not quite fitting as of yet. I have no experience in compromising and maybe only a mediocre talent for it. So I want to change politics but I will not have the chance. Basically, the furthest I could be involved in the decision-making process would be to vote for a party that hopefully ends up representing me. If I was relying on the idea that democracy meant policy directed by the people I'd be pissed too.
Of course I understand that politics can't work like that and as a political person I realize that democracy might be flawed, however, is still by far the best system out there. If I watch John Kerry talk to Benjamin Netanyahu and call for peace in the Middle East one more time though I'm going to throw up. The difference between me and the general onlooker is an actual degree in analyzing these problems, and realizing that there aren't solutions for it. Me and most people educated about politics, specifically the Middle East for argument's sake, know that this crisis is far from over no matter what Mr Kerry says or does. It makes virtually no difference. The resolution is lightyears away. The same goes for unemployment, better conditions for working class families and immigration. The father who still struggles despite of all of his efforts, however, will not find that consoling in the slightest...