«

»

Politics From the Inside Out

September 29, 2017

I think of traditional politicians as political mechanics. And some of them are very good ones too. But the problem is that society is not a machine, with parts that can just be tinkered with to make things right. Tinkering with a bill here, tinkering with another kind of legislation there — these are all external remedies, but our biggest problems are not external. External problems are just symptoms, and just treating the symptom doesn’t treat the disease.

Jobs, for instance….Politicians keep saying that people want jobs. Well of course they do. But that’s just the problem that shows on the outside. What people are living with, in their hearts, late at night when they live with little but their own thoughts, is a level of chronic economic despair that simply getting a job doesn’t totally stave off. Economic despair isn’t due only to the fact that someone doesn’t have a job. Even when you have a job, so little feels secure today. The fear is still with you, whether it’s a fear of not having a job or fear that you’re going to lose the one you have.. It’s due to the fact that someone doesn’t have health care, and doesn’t know what they would do if they got sick. It’s due to the fact that someone doesn’t know how they will pay for their kids to go to college, or how they themselves will pay off their college loans. It’s due to the fact that huge conglomerates and billionaires seem to hold all the power today, power even over our government, so that more and more the average person feels squeezed out of the mainstream and into a pool of ultimate insignificance. And this makes people unhappy; how could it not? Unhappy people grow weary, and weary people are too tired to fight off the accumulated assaults on both body and soul that are with us all the time today.

That’s not something a mechanic can fix. Our political mechanics are part of a system that has brought us to where we are today. Given the state of the world, I don’t see how anyone totally adept at our political system has too much to brag about. We need more than political car mechanics in Washington. What we need is a new car, and what we need more than anything else is a deeper understanding of the people who are in it.

We need a politics from the inside out. You can’t change anything only by changing things on the outside… Not a business, not a relationship, not an organization, not a life. Only temporary change can happen that way. What we need now is a renewed conversation about what it means to be human, in our politics as much as everywhere else. That’s what our Founders were talking about. How we are created equal. How we have inalienable rights, not just because we are entitled brats who want what we want but because we are given those rights by God. How it is the natural state of humanity to be free of tyranny, political or economic or any other kind. How to establish a society that honors those things. We have strayed from the important existential questions of life, and that is why our politics are sick. They do not speak either to our depths or from our depths. They are shallow and selfish and greedy and corrupted. They do not display the purity of heart that is the truth of who we are as people. Until that changes, our country will continue on a perilous course. But when that changes, we will begin to heal in the twinkling of an eye.

Translate »