November 21, 2005
Only he who in the face of all this can say 'In spite of all!' has the calling for politics.
- Max Weber
To be able to steer a straight course through the ebbs and flows of public opinion is a necessary thing; yet I have no use for positions which, by their very nature, will not alter (let alone compromise) in the slightest, in any direction. Something believed beyond questioning with all one's heart will almost never bend to the head. And what else, indeed, is faith? If an average person has made it an article of personal faith that theirs is the only possible "right", if a person is not willing to compromise to allow a different possibility in the slightest, I am perfectly happy to allow them to remain "right". Theirs is the choice.
The situation is a little different for politicians, and ultimately for leaders. Ideally, a leader of any political colour or denomination should be able to walk the tightrope of an evolving and responsive public policy without being blown astray by the winds of public opinion, and also without yielding to the constant urge to ignore the rope entirely and just bulldozer their way across the chasm. Much, much easier simply to glide with public opinion, or else to sink in one's heels where one stands and let any possible movement -- progress or otherwise -- go hang. Yet a populace has no less responsibility to ensure that they are led as they see fit than a politician has to so lead them. Sometimes the winds of public opinion are ... less than decisive. Sometimes what the leader has decided is best may not match what the people seek, or perhaps need. Sometimes a strongly internally polarised government loses the ability to perceive except through the lenses of its own polarity: and how then can policy serve the public well? (GIGO.) Where disjunction is sharp enough, the leader will be ousted by the people in some manner or other, for no leader has ever ruled but with the consent of a significant minority of those led: but the harsher the reaction to an unwanted leader, the more likely that such ousting will be followed either by someone of the extreme opposite stance, or even another of the same stripe as the one just ousted. Disconnection and disaffectation breeds ever more extreme pendular oscillations.
Yet each and every person, politician and otherwise, remains an individual. To allow one's personal reactions to one (or more) specific person(s) who will not change to colour one's reactions to every other person thereafter is to predict the past. The danger lies in oneself becoming enmired in something neither of one's creation nor with any innate power -- but which is granted power through one's very resistance.
Tell me: is it worth the fight?