First thing I usually do when I get up in the morning is to check the news. Maybe, that’s a mistake in the first place. Anyway, it usually hits me – like a bolt of lightning – that politics is everywhere in the papers.
You can do this yourself at home: Please count all articles of a random newspaper you can find, and then let me know how many stories are about some corrupt national politician, a new international treaty, or at least remotely related to a protest taking place in the streets of your neighborhood. Believe me, the ratio will make you spit your morning coffee! Call it the ubiquitous media bias, but there is certainly a tendency towards political issues.
Like the tentacles of that beautiful creature, the octopus, politics is literally everywhere we go, all we talk about, and most we can think of… it seems to be that people are obsessed with it. Or worse, we cannot resist its temptation.
Even if we don’t call for the «tentacles» of politics directly, we oftentimes feel the urge to depend on them; as if there were no other option to bring something challenging under «control». But then again, we often dislike what we get eventually. It’s similar to that terrible headache you regret the day after a great night out with your friends.
I don’t mean to sound like a person who underestimates the importance of certain political procedures, in particular if they are helpful in maintaining a peaceful social order. However, today’s reach of politicians is far away from simply setting and overseeing the «house rules», it has become a game of its own – and it’s a rather nasty business.
Politics has never been and likely won’t ever be a pleasant venture – at least not for the man on the street. Further, don’t make the mistake to think that politicians are primarily here to hold «shit» together; they’re not. Politics is mainly about power, special interests, the dark triad, changing your values, and (most of the time) wasting your money. Milton Friedman hit the nail on the head when pointing out that politics can’t rely on angels but must be content with humans.
Enough research in economics, psychology, and other fields, has shed light on the actual workings behind political scenes. Or, as the German playwright Bertolt Brecht famously put it:
«Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral.»*
It seems like there doesn’t exist any «safe space» from politics (now that we actually need one!). Most of the political performances you watch on TV and listen to on radio is supposedly important and vital to our well-being. It’s not though. Ask your friends who live in «broken» southern Italy, or «bankrupt» Greece. Life goes on, with or without those suit-wearers.
Luckily, we can change the status quo of blind loyalty. How? Get yourself dirty. Help others, not only your neighbors. Be friendly towards your fellow human beings – everyone, and not only those who accidentally share your supposedly so important skin color!
Or, to put it slightly differently, if you aren’t even capable of cleaning your own tiny desk (Jordan Peterson’s «rule 6»), don’t make other people do it by calling for the tentacles of politics!
Hence, if you can’t control your feelings next time, at least ask yourself why it should be you who may patronize others (and not someone else «infantilizing» you). Asking yourself that question may help you obtain a different view on things.
Instead of engaging in politics, start using your short, precious time on this beautiful planet in a different way – maybe by abstaining from voting next time when you can choose between two old guys you’ve never met before. And then, because you saved yourself some time, please tell me why you used to rely on politicians more than on your own mamma, me or that beautiful lady at the bus stop!
*Which translates into: «Food is the first thing, morals follow on.»
– Believe me, the German phrase is really catchy!