It’s All Politics, and It Has to Be.

There was a great Washington Post article on the essential nature of politics and the catastrophic impact of convincing people to dismiss the process with disdain as “just politics.” Politics in its highest form has noble roots, going back to the Greeks — it is the art of governing, of ordering life among a people.  Anything having to do with deciding, as a people, what we will and will not do, what we will and will not invest in; how, what, and how much we regulate behavior for the social good — all are political decisions. The problem isn’t politics. The problem is ignoble practitioners of the art and science of politics. Practitioners, their consultants, and major cash contributors who are willing to do or say anything win a point, grab a headline, or ultimately control a news cycle, are bad for politics. Practitioners, consultants, and their financiers, who intelligently work to achieve what they think best for society, is the noble side of politics. But make no mistake, it is still politics. And compromise and a heavy dose of reality are core qualities on the good side of politics. There is a huge difference between compromising one’s values and making realistic and perhaps strategically innovative compromises to get the best deal you can on a policy you care about. “True believers” on the left and right, may never accept this, as shown by the current political climate. But you get the best deal possible — unless it is a “poison pill” deal that simply makes things worse — and then live to fight another day. No one is ‘playing politics’ on Solyndra or birth control. This is politics. ’Politics’ shouldn’t be a dirty word.