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The Political Sphere

Of the public, by the public, and for the public, a democracy, i.e., the right of ordinary people to control their own lives, that was the plan.

The representative government that was formed created the political sphere complete with:

The Politician (usually a lawyer).

The Handlers, those that make political judgments about the political landscape and advise

the politician on the path that will win elections.

The Media made up of pundits that interpret everything in terms of political advantage. Policy, of course, being a small part of success.

The Lobbyists, representatives of Corporate interest that influence and write legislation.

The political sphere is at the center of power. It creates an illusion of democracy by glorifying all the virtues of American Democracy that we have grown up with. It becomes a religion to us, a belief. Once that belief is in place, those with power have license to corrupt. They can boldly proclaim, "We know what the American people want".

Sheldon Wolin is a professor at Berkeley and Princeton who is a political philosopher and has been interviewed by Chris Hedges on The Real News Network on Nov 20, 2014. He proposed that our democracy is an Inverted Totalitarianism. We have free elections, free media, but missing is an opposition. The imagery of our democracy enshrines the rule of the people at the top, but the reality is people do not rule. The control is turned upside down, the people and the ideals of democracy are enshrined at the top and minority rule is abhorred publicly but minority rule is the reality. Democracy has a problem creating an economy that will support its egalitarian principles, rather, economies become threats to that order. Our democracy is an illusion, that illusion helps those with economic power sustain control.

"Economics teaches that the measure of an individual's wellbeing is the quantity and variety of goods he or she can consume. Consumption is the goal; production is the means to it. Markets, rather than communities, are the unit and object of analysis.

We argue instead, that the health of our local communities should be front and center. Stable families, good jobs, strong schools, abundant and safe public spaces, and pride in local cultures and history - these are the essential elements of prosperous democracies. Global markets nor the nation-state have adequately supplied them, more often they undermine them." (1)

I recall an NPR interview with an analyst that declared that the characteristics required by politics are not the characteristics that we need in our politicians. Politicians provide policy outcomes that are very poor for the public. What we need, he proposed, was to select at random normal dudes that would become leaders. They would be ordinary people that live their life in a profession or trade and understand how to interact with reality, certainly better that most lawyers. He proposed that legislatures populated with this sort of person would have far better outcomes.

Yanis Varoufakis seems to agree with this postulate, he has talked at length of his objection of being in the political sphere and yearns for the return to the order of the academic environment from which he comes. Proof of this is his comment that he supports Jeremy Corbin for Prime Minister for no other reason than he knows Jeremy does not want to be Prime Minister. In his view, anyone who seeks and adores positions of power are not suited for them.

Lawyers are at the center of our politics. The lawyers I've experienced in my technical career working with the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977, would listen to my presentation for maybe 10 minutes, then they understood it. They had all they needed to be effective in court. That's a lawyer, no depth of understanding, they have to win arguments, details are for the weak. Politics will select those that are the poorest representatives of the public. They are vulnerable to influence, they have no moral compass, they understand dealing, they see politics as competitive, winning is the goal.

That's fine, we could fill a stadium with those that will pay to watch that contest. A nice sport, but the outcomes are zero. There is no progress towards an evaluation of our history, an understanding of where we are with respect to that history and how much work we need to do to align ourselves with reality.

The public needs to organize geographically to provide a voice to those that seem to be disinterested in our plight. Why do we put up with this? If we do not organize, we will never be able to provide any resistance. There are solutions to our crisis, and we have access to that knowledge. They do what they want, it is clear they intend to do what they want in the 2020 election.

We canvass, We meet, We study, We solve ... then we have the power. Solutions will never come from a political sphere that measures success by wins. We need to become involved, there is no one else that can do it.

(1) These are paraphrased quotes from a Dani Rodrick piece in Project Syndicate, "Reclaiming Community", Nov 9, 2018.

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