by Thomas Hawk
We All Use Politics in Our Everyday Lives
What are politics? The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines politics as, “A: The art or science of government.” This is the pure, all-inclusive definition.
“B: The art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy.” This definition includes the activities of the President, Congress, the lobbyists, the special interest groups and citizen activists who are all trying to guide and influence governmental policy.
“C: The art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government.” For most politicians, this activity seems to involve a larger share of their time than actually governing. Politicians spend much time raising funds for re-election. Members of Congress often miss votes on legislation, while attending fund-raising events for their campaigns. They also neglect their duties while actively campaigning for re-election. This partly answers the question of what are politics, but the totality includes so much more.
When German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck was asked what are politics, he said, “politics is the art of the possible.”
Some famous people have had a more cynical view of what are politics. Mao Tse-Tung is quoted as saying, “Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed.” Some would call this a realistic view because war does happen often, when the political process between countries breaks down.
What are politics in practical terms? To be successful, politics needs to employ compromise and consensus. These qualities are sadly missing in today’s political environment. This is responsible for the current stalemate and acrimonious atmosphere in Congress. It will probably take an extraordinary crisis or a true revolt by the voters to change the situation.
What are politics in everyday life? People who are successful in their career use political principles in their interactions with management and fellow-workers. They use compromise and consensus to achieve their goals. They use civility and courtesy to promote good relations with fellow workers, which facilitates compromise and consensus. As in the definition of politics, by getting a promotion to a higher job position they are winning and holding control over their company.
What are politics in relation to your personal life? Forging successful personal relationships are also based on the political principles of compromise and consensus. A romantic relationship that is dominated by one person is not a happy and productive relationship. The dominated person will harbor strong resentment. The relationship is further enriched by showing mutual respect, civility, courtesy, affection and a genuine interest in each other. This is the essence of successful politics; giving both parties as much as possible of what they are seeking.
While this does not fully answer the question of what are politics, we show that we all use political principles in our everyday lives.
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