Throw the Bums Out
If you spend just a little bit of time reading comments about politics you will quickly come face to face with the Dumbest Argument Ever on the Internet. You probably know what I am going to say but I will say it anyway. “Get Rid of all Politicians”.
The “Get rid of all politicians” argument is right up there with “I am neither a Liberal nor a Conservative”, or “[insert name here] is not a News Organization”. As silly as all three statements seem, there are those who truly believe them.
Before we go getting rid of something, we really should figure out what that something is. For instance, before tossing out that odd looking lamp, we might want to know what that lamp is and what it might be worth. So what is a Politician?
There are some strict definitions for a Politician, but this is the one I like: A Politician is a person who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making. For the sake of keeping the discussion simple, I avoid including those who are involved in the policy making for private business or private organizations. After all, if the local Quilting Society decides when they will have their meetings, most of us could care less. When most people hear the word Politician they think of someone holding a position within public government.
Of course most of the “Get rid of all Politician” types might be confused since not all politicians are created equal. Some politicians must be elected, others are appointed. For instance, the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are appointed...while your State Supreme Court Justices are elected. There are actually classes of Politicians. We will briefly touch on some of these classes.
The Associated Politicians. This class spans the gap between Public and Private politics. Many factions (I do not mean that in a derogatory way) use Professional Politicians to influence public policy and decision making. Another term for this type of politician is a Lobbyist. How you view a lobbyist has much to do with who the lobbyist represents. If they represent a group that you happen to like, then they are a good thing...if they represent something you dislike..then they are scum.
The job of a Lobbyist is to influence public policy by convincing those in policy making positions that their group should be considered in those decisions. They do this by convincing the policy makers that the groups values are consistent with the politicians values and goals. Nothing wrong with that, is there? Lobbyists are really nothing more than a mouthpiece for the many factions that exist in our nation. Of course, the biggest factions will get the most attention....and of course there is plenty of room for corruption.
The Appointed Politician. As I mentioned earlier The Supreme Court Justices are appointed. In American Politics, the Appointed Politicians and the process that appoints them, has created some of the greatest stories of political intrigue and deception. For more on this I strongly suggest you study the actions of President John Adams prior to his defeat in 1800 and his Midnight Judges..then follow it to the case of Marbury v. Madison.
In our nation..one based on laws...the appointment of judges is very important...but what about appointing an Ambassador to Peru..or to a lower position, say in the Department of Agriculture. Amazingly you do not need to know where Peru is...or what the Department of Agriculture does...you just need a nod from the President in most cases.
The Elected Politician. Now we come to the person some of us love and some of us hate...the elected government official. This person gets to make up the laws and regulations that make us happy or sad...They have the real power in this country. Do they really? In countries that have Queens and Kings...yes they do..in countries that have Dictators, or Emperors they certainly do...In the United States the right to govern is given by the people. That right is contained in and controlled by our Constitution. Our elected officials are free to govern so long as their mandates or laws meet the criteria of the Constitution.
To become an Elected Politician means getting elected. This requires understanding the game of politics. Politics is the ultimate sales job. Ever see a car salesman's ad on TV...then wonder to yourself..who would buy a car from that yahoo? Lot of people will buy from him..for nearly every reason imaginable...if nothing else than to say “I bought a car from that crazy dude on TV”.
There is a sub-category of the Elected Politician...I call them the Career Politician....this guy not only gets elected once...but twice...maybe three times...sometimes he serves so long it is the only job he has ever known. Is this bad? The people who elected him will say no...those who don't like him will say yes. Heck, we have even passed laws limiting how long some of these guys can serve. Is this bad? Some will say yes...others no.
If nothing else the Career Politician has proven he knows how to play the game...and in politics..playing the game is what counts.
What would happen if.... We got rid of Associated Politicians (Lobbyists)?
Trade Unions, Labor Unions, People Who Love Animals, People for Guns, People against guns...none of these groups would exist...why would they if they can't influence Government?
What would happen if... We got rid of all Appointed Politicians?
Do we make all of the Departments of the Cabinet elected?
Do we elect every judge?
Do we elect every ambassador?
If you think elections are ugly now...imagine that cluster.
If you think Government is slow and unresponsive..imagine ten thousand people making decisions based on getting elected.
What would happen if... We got rid of Elected Politicians?
Government would cease to exist...we would devolve into small bands...the sick and poor would not be an issue for very long...since they would not survive very long...
Even if we got rid of just Career Politicians would would have a government with no idea how to govern. We would become....Mexico. We would have rookies negotiating with other countries...and getting beat in every deal...which would make us....Europe.
Politicians are hated, loved, revered, and the topic of so many awesome jokes we would be lost without them.
Does our process need tweaking? Of course it does..it has been getting tweaked since Washington was elected...some of the tweaking has been dramatic...some less so..but it has always been by the will of the people..and the protection they enjoy under our Constitution.
So the next time someone says “Get rid of all the Politicians”...they are either joking...or ignorant.