These are the definitions of “politics” according to Dictionary.com:
"Politics: The art or science of government or governing.
The activities or affairs engaged in by a politician, government or political party."
Politics used to be a realm unto itself. There would be that maelstrom around the Beltway and smaller galaxies revolving around places like Lansing, Albany, Denver, Austin and Sacramento to name just a few. Then there was the buzz of mosquitoes hovering over the cities.
The people got together and voted others into office, instead of relying on monarchy or tyrants to enforce the rule. That was the American Way. Rarely did politics cross over into other areas of life, and for the most part, people liked it that way.
Many of the first settlers in New England arrived looking for religious freedom. In England, the church is state and vice versa. Therefore, although this country is religious, we have adopted the concept of separation of church and state. Our government is unique, as it was founded on the premise of less is more, intervention-wise. For the most part, people liked it that way.
Most people don’t think too much about politics, government or politicians. It could be because of laziness, or it could be that we are secure in knowing the worst case scenario couldn’t possibly happen here. In America, we make history, we don't repeat it, right? Most natural-born Americans take their freedom for granted, because they have known nothing else. It's the land of milk and honey, of opportunities untold. Immigrants who come here by choice realize the jewel this country is. My mother was an immigrant and loved this country so much, she gave up her birth language and wrote poems about America in English.
I spend a lot of time in my yard gardening. When doing so, a great many thoughts pop into my mind as I’m turning earth, weeding and transporting rocks from one place to another. The United States is like my back yard. There are beautiful spots and some not so pretty. There’s an area devoted to foodstuffs, a calm area, another that’s noisy with flowers. It’s a work in progress; there’s always urban renewal. For the most part, my yard is a glorious retreat.
I had a thought the other day: Politicians are like creeping Charlie. If this invasive plant threatens to strangle a rose bush, I’m there to pull it out.
In the last hundred years or so, politics and the government have found a way to invade our everyday lives. In my lifetime, there have always been taxes and regulation. There have always been wars and a need for the military.
Before we knew it, our government became bigger. More invasive. Little by little, freedom is being usurped and the explanations always point toward a "common good," an excuse made by both sides of the aisle.
Our government wanted everyone to own a house, so it indirectly provided loans to the disadvantaged who, it turned out, were unable to pay. Now, the government is in our banks and brokerage houses. It’s running our automobile industry. It’s planning to take over health care. It wants to mandate how we get our energy.
It shapes our media and our thinking by entwining itself into everything.
It’s all politics.
Now every facet of living has a political connotation and potential political fallout. No matter what opinion you may have formed, just the act of doing so puts you in the bullseye of the opposing camp. If you believe in a woman’s right to choose with regard to abortion, you’re apt to upset a Republican. If you question the theory of global warming, you’ll rattle a Democrat. Likewise, people are judged by the news they watch (Fox = conservative, NBC = liberal) or by the car they drive (gas hog = redneck, hybrid = environmentalist). Whether you buy organic or shop Walmart, somehow the action is a reflection on your politics.
In the midst of the dustup that is politics, much is lost. The reason for the holiday. The reason for the country.
This Fourth of July, I'm going to wave my little flag, thank my lucky stars for freedom — and long for a day when day-to-day living is free from politics.