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Facing the Facts: Coming to Terms With Reality in Politics

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Refusing to accept the facts of any given situation is always a fool’s errand. 

Forinstance, when one is in a romantic relationship in with an unfaithful partner and chooses to ignore the warning signs of infidelity, the short-term pain averted will be almost inconsequential compared to what will be experienced from the turmoil which lays ahead. The same is true for a voter who remains supportive of a longtime public officeholder known to be on the take. When reality hits you in the face, it can be tempting to turn the other cheek, but, as I said above, ultimately a fool’s errand.

The political process, needless to say, is no place for fools. Yes, many do participate in it, and some have even reached its highest levels in the past, but never really attained any great degree of power. A prominent example of this would be the late Warren G. Harding, a man who was thought by even the closest of his friends to be not the brightest of bulbs, so to speak. Despite rising from the position of country newspaperman, and not a very successful one at that, to president of the United States in a relatively short period of time, he was controlled by his manipulating handlers every step of the way. Quickly after his inauguration, he appointed most of his comrades, whom he thought to be genuinely good people, to every cabinet and administrative post available. Nearly all of these people would go on to be engaged in corruption of such a magnitude that, had Watergate taken place back then during the early 1920s, it would have been last page news in a small handful of alternative weeklies. Eventually, Congress became aware of all that was going on and made noises about impeaching Harding, who was caught like a deer in the headlights and had profited absolutely nothing from his appointees’ dealings. Unexpectedly, he died one day while touring San Francisco, due to causes which still remain unknown — though most historians believe that his doting wife poisoned him in order to save his dwindling reputation and status as a free man.

Harding’s story serves as a warning to us all; problems can only be shoved aside for so long until they come back to get us. As time wore on, he began to feel suspicious of several of his supposed underlings’ activities, but never questioned them as he simply did not want to rock the boat. We can see precisely where that mentality got him, and where it will get us as well. While it is not good to cause a stir simply for the sake of it, we must not hesitate to question the suspicious doings of any politician, especially if he or she purports to be on our side of the partisan aisle.

Only an idealist, who naively believes that all will turn out well in the end due to the inherent goodness of human beings, could be of a contrary opinion. This stands the reason why those seeking to gain a deeper understanding of and improve the American political landscape must be realists. A realist will not only dispute shoddy arguments, but concoct superior ones so that the level of debate may be elevated and beneficial public policy measures be crafted therein. Unfortunately, realism, along with so many other things, has been in short supply at all levels of government for far too long.

Let us see if this can be remedied.

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About Joseph F. Cotto

  • I seem to share the same sentiments with the writer,in many ways than one, because as I have been trying to follow events taking place in the international system,I discovered that much of the things taking place there are shaped by power politics.Those who choose to ignore reality therefore do that at their own peril.We have seen a number of political figures who have struggled to come into terms with the realities facing them in the day to day running of their offices.The reasons behind their struggles are in part due to their existence in what I will term dreamland.They have failed to deliver what they were purported to do but the citizens who voted them into office always cry over his incompetences but come next elections he is reistated.Idealism as an ideology has failed and after all the currency of politics is power.Power by nature is contentious and therefore a conflict free world will always be a dream that will never come true till the Second Advent of Christ.

  • Leroy

    One of the big problems is that people, voters, are pretty ignorant, and often resist the facts because they defy political preconceptions.

    A big cause for this is that so many people have the misconception that if they listen to two sides of a political situation they will be able to divine facts and reality. Tey are wrong: you can’t listen to two liars and expect to see the truth. You have to do the hard work of researching the subject and applying logic, math and physics to determine what’s really going on.

    But people are too lazy to do that, and that opens their unprepared minds to the influence of propagandists.