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Part of the gloom and doom that exists in the Men’s Movement is a wild misunderstanding of politics. But this is not unique. Most (failed) movements end up with one conclusion: “The end days are upon us!”
Most of my formal training was in this field. And, let me tell you, I was very incorrect and extremely wrong on many times. Both conservatives and liberals are guilty of crass errors. But this shouldn’t be surprising. We were students and students are ignorant.
One of the flaws of Democracy is that every jack thinks they are a prince (while every prince pretends to be a jack). The average person is ignorant in physics, literature, history, and government. This is not a slam but just stating the truth. These fields are highly specialized. I couldn’t tell you anything about physics. I wouldn’t even try. Much of history is unknown to me because there is so much history out there. While I’m more knowledgeable about literature, I still claim ignorance to much of it (especially the non-Western works). Being ignorant does not mean you are stupid. But one cannot become an expert in everything.
Yet, everyone is an expert in politics. If you voted with dollars instead of with ballots, I expect most people to become homeless as they would consistently lose elections. It is very easy to talk among like-minded friends and exist in a ‘bubble.’ When reality breaks, it is near insanity to ignore it and keep trying to live in your pre-made illusion. When the electoral results came in for the 2004 election, some people sadly couldn’t take the reality. What is worse is that people tie their personal happiness by what goes on in Washington. So if their candidate doesn’t win, their life is ‘rotten.’ Why give politics so much power by it determining your happiness?
Many people assume politics is about ideology. It is not. Here is a break-down of all the arenas of politics:
Law- Is something legal or not? When politicians do something (or don’t do something), keep in mind that they exist in a pure legal equilibrium. Most politicians are lawyers. They operate according to (and to breaking) the Law.
Example: The Senate made a huge bill on illegal immigration and sent it to the House of Representatives. The bill died instantly in the House. The reason why was legal. In the bill, the Senate wrote that illegal immigrants wouldn’t have to pay their back taxes for the past three years. This made the bill illegal. The Constitution says that only bills dealing with money must come from the House. This is why that bill instantly died.
Demographics- This charts all the population among future trends. The reason why I can say that homosexuals have no political future is because they have no demographic future: they can’t have children. Political elections are heavily dependent on demographics. Karl Rove absolutely loves demographics. Each electoral map is broken down county by county, territory by territory, by registered voters and people moving in or out. This is heavily numbers based and is probably the bulk of Political Science.
Example: Florida will obtain significant political power as a state with elections and general influence. Around eight hundred people a day are moving into Florida. Florida’s population is surging and the electoral votes, counted by the next census, will exceed New York State. Since old people vote the most, and Florida is full of old people, the state will hold very strong political power. This is because of demographics.
Raising Money- If you think being a Senator is about spending all day writing legislation, you would be wrong. A Senator, like any other politician, spends considerable time raising money. This money is necessary for campaigning. If a politician cannot raise money, then this politician has a bleak future. In order to raise money, the politician appeals to donations from us smaller folk to interest groups.
Example: When Bush was running for re-election, he held many fundraisers in which he raised cash for his campaign. Follow the money in politics.
Elections- This is the big one. To us, a war or the economy is a ‘problem.’ But to the politician, they are never problems. The only problem to the politician is the next ‘election.’ To them, this is the problem that must be solved. Elections dwarf demographics and ‘raising money’ to politicians.
Example: The Republican Party was split on illegal immigration. Bush and the Senate desired to cater to illegal immigration due to demographics (so many Hispanics in America) and to raising money (many businesses who donated to campaigns liked illegal immigration). However, Bush and most of the Senate are not up for re-election this year. The entire House, however, is. So the Republicans in the House of Representatives decided to betray the party line because their constituents were demanding that they do so. They, like anyone else, want to be re-elected.
Ideology- Ideology holds a much smaller place in [American] politics than people think. In order for a politician to succeed, he must be able to manage the demographics, the law, effectively raise money, and then win elections. Ideology is a much smaller demand on them. They reserve it mostly for speeches while their attention goes back to demographics and raising money. Some politicians are frightened by ideology as that might scare away the bulk of their voters.
Example: The base of the Democrats, mostly the bloggers, is HUNGRY for ideology. The Democrats in Congress refuse to speak the same identical ideological words that the Democrat base does (for fear of alienating the mainstream). So, the base plans to replace them unless they speak the ideology that they do. This is an example of ideology affecting politics.
Even I was skeptical at first, but I have learned there is such a thing as a political science. If someone handed you papers from the Supreme Court, could you understand what was going on? (Law) If someone gave you the statistics for population growth in the southern valley of the US, would you know what that meant and how it would shape the future? If someone gave you the list of people attending political fundraisers, do you know what it all means? And weeks going into an election, could you accurately predict, county by county, what the results would be?
People get paid big bucks to do this stuff because most people can’t do it. Law is an extensive field which you need to pay people to either act for you in court or to perform some other service for you (don’t even think about ‘winging’ it). People who bring in the information and conclusions of demographics also make big money since most people can’t do it.
I try to avoid politics whenever possible (for I see nothing good coming from politics). But with so much gloom and doom coming from misreadings of politics, I’ll try to do my part and clear up what I know to be clear myths. Hopefully, people will stop thinking the world is about to end.
Here is an example of a political myth:
MYTH: There is no ‘war’ because the President has never declared it.
This idea comes from watching too much television. People imagine the President going to Congress and screaming, “I DECLARE WAR ON JAPAN!! I DECLARE WAR ON GERMANY!!!” And Congress then ‘votes’ on it as was done for World War II. Many people will say that the Vietnam War, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq are not considered ‘true wars’ because the President never declared them.
This is an issue of Law. What these people do not understand is that the Constitution never defines a declaration of war. All it requires is Congress’s approval. Legally, Bush could bomb Canada if he believed it had a connection to 9/11. Why? Because Congress gave him the authority to retaliate against the origins of the 9/11 hijackers with the 9-14 Resolution (this resolution is the declaration of war against al-quaeda). Bush could have gone into Iraq if he desired without more Congress’s approval. But to be safe (and because of the 2002 Election), he took the issue to Congress where they voted to approve the action into Iraq.
The House also has further approval due to the power of the purse. Wars are expensive and require massive funding. At any time, the House of Representatives can pull the funds and end any war the Executive Branch is in.
If the military action gets Congress’s approval, it isn’t illegal. We may love it or hate it, but it is not illegal. The bottom line is that the Constitution does not specify what a Declaration of War is. What is required is Congress’s approval.
“But Pook! That is so simple! How could some people not get it?”