Politicians Are Human, Too—Treat Them Like Your Neighbor
Having had the displeasure of sitting on the political sidelines for the last few years, watching performative cruelty go from a minor nuisance to the social status quo, I have finally reached the point where I feel the need to enter into the conversation. I chose to abstain from taking part in political discussion for so long, as a child I would frequently voice my ignorance to anyone who would listen and even further scorn them when they refused to hear it.
But now, as an adult, I am wondering why everyone now seems to be acting like myself when I was still in junior high. It leaves me with a feeling of discomfort, as if I am some sort of oddball that needs to live a hermit life so as to avoid all the senseless turmoil. Senseless is the best way to describe most of the political debate—if it can be called that anymore in any serious, literal capacity—that occurs between people both within and without political office.
Everyone seems to have forgotten we are stuck on this rock together, at least for now, and even the lowest rung of society is part of the ladder we are all seeking to climb. Yet here I stand, watching people climb the ladder and trying to break every rung they surpass in hatred and spite, as if to say they've never fallen before and will never need that rung again. Be forewarned, my friends, you need every rung in the ladder and each one holds the same weight as the ones that came before and the next ones.
Politicians Are Closer Than Your Neighbor
The willful disconnections between people and their sentiments, sentiments and people's actions, people's actions and their claims, and claims versus reality are becoming more and more apparent to those observing from the outside. It would seem that in this world of undeniable interconnection, people have chosen to ignore the fact that everything you do and say online is visible. These things aren't just visible to the community in which you choose to partake anymore, all the hateful and ignorant spew you place online is visible to the very people you think have no time in their day for your qualms. Fact of the matter is that these people care more about what you have to say, and what you think about them, than the people in your immediate community ever will.
Politicians seem so high above us, exalted like false idols on a pedestal of hedonistic worship, yet this couldn't be further from the truth when it comes to our ability to interact with them. When you go online to your meager little Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts and spread your spite to the masses, hashtagging and directly naming these people who can't look you in the eye, it is the equivalent of walking to their front door with a paper bag full of dog excrement, lighting it on fire, ringing the doorbell, and running away to hide in the bushes and wait for them to stomp it out.
Being like an immature child is never something to aspire to in this context. You're treating these politicians like your hermit neighbors, pestering them and their family to the point they finally react and the pain you cause them bleeds into their daily lives and the interactions therein. You wouldn't poison the lives of your neighbors within your immediate community just because they held different views than you. So why do you insist on poisoning the lives of politicians? Maybe I'm just too optimistic, thinking people aren't as scummy as they make themselves appear, when really they are rotting on the inside and trying to spread it to everyone else.
Trickle-Down Cruelty Billows Back Up
It is like an endless cycle these days; someone of great social stature has an opinion that doesn't align with the opinions of others, the opinion is heard by those around them and aired on the television and radio to those who are not, a snowball of opinions begins forming and rolls downhill to those of us struggling the most financially, and finally that snowball hits the bottom creating long-term devastation in the form of bitterness and vindictive cruelty. All of the torture we subject each other to here at the bottom of the pyramid of power creates a smoldering pile of useless human beings choking on the smoke of their own burning lives. In an effort to lessen the suffocating air of flaming hatred around us, we plug into the internet and funnel that smoke right back up to the top where it began, to those whose job it is to prevent such things in the first place.
I have some very important questions for you to consider. If your workplace was full of figurative smoke, and you are suffocating on that figurative smoke, would you be able to do your job effectively? When your office begins to fill with smoke you don't continue hammering away at your work, you run away or you attempt to put out the fire; either way your work suffers, as none of it is getting done. How do you put out the fire when your coworkers are throwing more fuel into it, thinking they are actually helping? Are you one of the ones throwing fuel into it thinking you're helping to put it out? What happens when the fire engulfs everything around you, the heat becomes too much, and there is no way out? If people thought a little further than the tips of their own noses then they'd see this is the exact situation in which we all find ourselves now, and the future is looking pretty bleak. Maybe we could all stop throwing fuel on the fire, and all have a barbecue or something instead? Please? We all like a good rib roast.
Is There an End to the Cycle?
Being the hopeful that I am, I like to believe that everyone of sound mind is seeking a legitimate, positive end to the cycle of cruelty for all involved. Realistically, however, the cycle of subjugation, destruction, rebirth, and growth will go on and on until the end of time. Take solace in knowing that every bit of fuel you don't throw in the fire lowers the intensity of the flame. Knowing full well that everything you do and say contributes to the world as a whole is a great first step in no longer fueling the raging fires of madness. With every bitter word removed from the never-ending onslaught of resentment toward one another, it allows everyone to breathe that much easier.
We have all reached a point in our lives where even the smallest of inconveniences can set us over sanity's edge, and send us tumbling down the cliff of depression into the waters of madness. No one likes to be drowning in the waters of madness any more than the next guy trying to keep their heads above water. Then again, maybe you're the type to panic and think you're saving yourself by using other people as a flotation device until they drown? Maybe you're doing this in a calculated manner, and watching others drown by your hand is something you desire to sate a sadistic need? Though I think it is more likely you're the one panicking, fighting the rescuers who reach out to save you. Stop flailing, stop fighting, and give in to the helpful hand of cruelty abstention.
A Dream for the Future
It is a bit of a stretch as far as reality is concerned, but I believe we could reach a time where the performative cruelty as a social norm comes to an end and is instead replaced by everyone reaching out with helpful hands and listening with open and unbiased ears. It doesn't really take much effort to write a petty, hateful post on any of your social media accounts, and you'd go out of your way to do it if it meant a few dopamine-lever pulling reacts and comments. So why not, rather than being a bitter and regressive social media nut, call up your local officials and give them an ear-full? It takes equally as much effort, if not less, to leave a message for them and express your distaste for current events and practices.
It is a politician's job to listen to the will of their people, but when the people they represent would rather figuratively behead their neighbors with swords made of words than express anything of value, what is the politician meant to do? They listen to the few who go out of their way to hold their ear in their pocket. I don't think most politicians could be bought if people actually cared to keep up with them and hold them accountable. So are you keeping up with them and holding them accountable, or are you complaining while only putting effort into poisoning others on social media?
Go now and give your representative, whose job it is to hear what you have to say, a piece of your mind. Remember as you are doing so, that this is their job to interact with you and hear your concerns, they are more accessible to you than your immediate community is, and they deserve the same respect you'd wish others to show you. You wouldn't want to be randomly attacked by some stranger, so do not seek to attack them. The future is in their hands if you don't take their position for yourself.
For Those Aspiring to Be Politicians
When I was younger, younger than I am now, I aspired to be a politician. I soon realized I lacked the will to change my personality enough to be appealing to a broad audience, so I decided that being a writer was more up my alley. The career path between being a writer and being a politician isn't all that dissimilar, however, and I have some really wonderful sources of information that continue to help me throughout my every endeavor.
and The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene have provided me insights into my life and the social and political manipulations of others that I never would have even considered, or otherwise caught on to, had I not read these insightful, instructional guides. The 48 Laws of Power
All throughout both instructional guides you get to hear about many different figures in history, both real-life and fictional, and how they approached the world. From their shortcomings that brought them to their inevitable demise, to the veiled actions that carried them to the highest positions of power and influence, everything you could ever want to know lies waiting within the pages of Greene's works. You'd be doing yourself a disservice by not giving them a once-over at the very least, but just like me, I'm sure you'll find yourself returning over and over again to take more notes and pursue that deeper power lying dormant within you.