Politicians on either side of the aisle tend to use the power of sesquipedalian speeches and lofty ideals to obfuscate their agenda from the eyes of wary citizens. In other words, they use those big, fancy words and vague references to party platforms to hide their true intentions. Certainly not all people running for office are politicians, but all politicians eventually run for office.
The problem with hiding behind obscure words and ideologies is that they tend to alienate the average Joe, such as myself. I don’t really care about party platforms and big words. What I do care about is how things will affect my life, and the lives of my kids. Beyond that, party politics mean little to me.
Recently, a campaigning politician referred to environmentalist extremists, who value rocks and sage chickens just as much humans. His comment to those folks, to us folks, was that sage chicken is tasty.
Well, yes it is. Unfortunately, politicians and many other people look down on so called environmentalists without understanding what caring about the environment actually means. It doesn’t necessarily mean that one values one thing over another. Instead, I see value in all things. Caring about the environment doesn’t necessarily make one an extremist, either.
In a philosophical sense, rocks, sage and people serve different but equally important functions in the vast macrocosm of our lives. Of course, humans have opposable thumbs and are therefore superior. When it comes to doing things that you can only do with thumbs, then yes, I suppose it is true. But what about all the other things, that thumbs don’t help with? In those cases, then perhaps we aren’t so superior after all.
Unfortunately, we lose sight of the importance of things when we become too focused on ourselves, and that, I believe is the greatest shortcoming of politicians.
They focus on themselves, their message, and their agenda. They lose sight of the common folk, who are trying to survive.
We just want to enjoy life, pay our bills and live a decent life. At the end, we want to look back, with some satisfaction, that we left the world a better place for those who come after us. And sometimes, we might like to hike in the sagebrush, enjoying the wonder of the world around us. While sage grouse and stones might not serve an obvious purpose, our hike might be less interesting without their grounding presence.
Of course, the only folk the politicians pay heed to are the ones who vote. And more specifically, the ones who vote, and who also have money. To narrow it down further, they really care about the people who fund those expensive campaigns, allowing them to travel hither and yon, spouting big words and fancy obscure ideologies.
The little people, the ones affected by their decisions, rarely fund those campaigns. The little people are working, taking care of families, and wondering how they will survive next week, next month and next year.
The little people don’t typically cast aspersions at environmentalists, at the tea party, or at activists of any sort. We little people are too busy trying to survive and thrive. Not only do we not have time, but we don’t have interest in extremes at either end of the spectrum. What the people care about is what affects them every day.
We care about the price of gas, and how we can make a tank stretch until next payday. We care about buying milk, diapers and whether we can afford day care next week.
Politicians typically get lost in rhetoric. They forget all about serving people and making the world a better place, if they ever think about it at all.
There are public servants, who work to ensure that our town is safe and well run. They care about the quality of life for the people they serve. Those public servants are not politicians, just average people like the rest of us, just trying to get by.
With campaign season in full swing, we will soon be inundated with loquacious politicians, trying to schmooze us. They pretend to be just like us, to understand the plight of the common folk. They try to disguise their rhetoric, to simplify and dumb it down.
What we can’t lose sight of is that they are no better, nor really any worse than any of us. Misguided? Yes, probably so. But we are all fighting a hard battle, in one way or another. During campaign season, my advice to politicians, and the victims of politicians, is to be kind. Everyone is fighting a hard battle.