We Can End The Sleazy Political Class
July 1st, 2019 | RR
If you've ever dreamed of surrounding yourself with drooling sycophants, politics is a good place to start. There really is no other world or industry where you'll find the same calibre of disingenuous, opportunistic ass-kissers huddling around cardboard cutouts. Those cardboard cutouts are the politicians and insiders who started as the same, eager neophytes they now take pleasure in surrounding themselves with. Inside every political circle and bubble is a world of unmitigated fawning and feigning. What makes it so entertaining and grotesque at the same time is the shamelessness of it all. There are literally thousands of people within the Conservative Party alone who are dying to get on their knees just to spend the rest of their lives earning a pension secured by taxpayers.
Politics is a blood sport. For outsiders who are mortified by what they see on the inside, it's like watching a cockfight. We get to stuff our faces with popcorn while they brainlessly peck each others' eyes out to survive another day. Of course, I'm not talking about the politicians in an election cycle, I'm talking about the sycophants they surround themselves with. I'm talking about the interns, the EDA leaders and the fresh-out-of-school underlings looking to make a name for themselves.
Everyday is an election campaign inside a political party. The policy boards, the committees within committees, the internships, the fundraisers—these are the places where the rookies and wannabes go to knife each other. The most mortifying thing about it all is that most of these positions are voluntary and don't pay a single penny. To get a job working for a party or politician—or to become one—you have to make the right friends, know the right people and then be willing to smile as you stick knives into their spleens.
Some of these sycophants and opportunists are taught to do all of this without earning a penny. Why? Because you gotta do what you gotta do to eventually earn a great pension and some loyal friends.
What drives these sycophants and neophytes to work for free is the dream of one day having their own sycophants and neophytes. They tell themselves that what they are doing is for the greater good of the party, for the people and for their country. Politics isn't just about being duplicitous, full of shit and mendacious—it's about being as self righteous as possible. This is how the neophytes evolve into the flimsy cardboard cutouts we call politicians.
Most politicians and the people they surround themselves with are taught from early on to say what they need to say, to be nice to the right people, to fawn and drool at the feet of their overlords and to smite anyone who notices their bullshit. The entry line for the political class is long and filled with people who only care about themselves. The few who try to enter for a greater, selfless cause quickly get consumed by the culture of chicanery. This culture bleeds out from the inside and becomes visible to everyone. Everyone who hates politics and politicians sees it. It's why politicians rightfully get used as punching bags. They deserve it and the rest of us have earned the right to disrespect them. After all, it's we who pay their salaries.
You'll hear the pundits and commentariat use brave, strong and other ridiculous adjectives to describe some elected officials and politicians. They'll use these adjectives because they've been taught to believe that public office is noble and that becoming a public figure takes bravery. They're wrong.
Becoming a politician or publicly elected representative takes only one thing: narcissism. That doesn't need to be the case, but it is. It's true that there are noble and selfless politicians, but they're few and far between. The truly noble and selfless ones within the political class almost always fail. The political culture I've described here usually chews them up and spits them out. What we end up with is an endless cycle of unscrupulous leaders and narcissists trying to write their own legacies with other people's money.
In politics, if you blow smoke up the right person's ass, you can become the leader of your party. When it comes to general elections, if you blow enough smoke up the right people's asses, you can become Prime Minister. This is the nature of democracy. We can't just blame the sleazy self-servants who have dictated political culture for decades. We, the voters, have to accept some blame for not liking honesty. We have to take some responsibility for turning politics into a sport for ass-kissers and liars.
"The entry line for the political class is long and filled with people who only care about themselves."
Politicians tell us what we want to hear because we demand to be told only what we want to hear, not what we need to hear. These sleazy megalomaniacs figured this out a while ago. It became a cheat code for everyone who ever wanted to become a politician or an insider. It helped make politics a sport that only seems to attract the most selfish, disingenuous and shameless among us. Because of our nature as voters and human beings, smiling and lying have been written into every political playbook. To become the leader of anything – or the member of any important board or committee – you have to tell your overlords what they want to hear and then polish their shoes. Our nature as voters has made politics the pathetic and shameless sport it is today.
The truly honest and noble ones never seem to make it very far. Even they play the game, telling themselves they'll be better people when they have finally made it. That, of course, rarely happens. The noble ones usually fail because they could never lie as well as the rest—or they go on to win their elections and forget the promise they made to themselves about eventually being a better person.
Politics makes good people awful and awful people worse.
If they were to read this, the worst of the worst would try to feign outrage until their faces turned blue. They'd tell you how many good people they know in politics. They'd tell you how good, noble and righteous they've been. They'd tell you that they've always been honest and tried to do the right thing. In such a case, all you'd have to do is think about the times your favourite politician kept a promise, or the times you watched your favourite politician dance around a question to avoid giving an honest answer. All you'd have to do is remember the fact that your favourite politician had to kiss someone's ass and then stick a knife into that person's spleen just to become who they are. It shouldn't take long for you to come to terms with the fact that your favourite politician is just telling you what you want to hear.
If it's at a fundraiser, a meet-and-greet or at your own front door, your favourite politicians have only one objective: to convince you that they're worth the public salary and comfortable retirement that they'll earn at your expense.
There is one element of Western democracy that could put an end to this grotesque political culture. In most democracies, there are no rules that require anyone running for public office to have any prior experience in politics. Our current political culture continues to churn out liars and hacks because we let it, not because it's a fundamental tenet of our democracy. Those disgusting sycophants and hacks – who join the political class to become politicians and high-level insiders – like to tell us that their jobs are difficult and complex. Don't be fooled. Running a candidate or politician's office is as simple as running any office. Running a campaign and winning aren't rocket science to anyone who's actually in touch with what people feel, need and want.
Holding a seat in the House Of Commons or any legislature isn't complex, difficult or exclusive to anyone with a specific skill set. Showing up to vote, reading legislation, drafting and amending legislation and organizing events with constituents isn't as hard as the political class wants the rest of us think.
So, why do we keep putting such a huge emphasis on experience? Because the political class, sycophants and hacks tell us to. They're joined by the media and by journalists who only want special access to inside information and gossip. Journalists, being ass-kissers themselves, will say and do what politicians and insiders tell them to, usually in return for a good relationship and future leads for career-making headlines.
Nowhere in the rules of Westminster politics, or US politics, is it written that any candidate must have prior experience in politics. The routine of joining a special club, kissing the right asses, working your way up, lying your way around, and throwing daggers into people's backs was established by the political class itself. There is no written rule governing any of it. The current convention and requirement of “experience” was designed solely by the political class and its high ranking insiders to keep the rest of us out. Their only goal has always been to keep their own legitimacy and control intact by creating a system that lets them dictate who wins and who loses.
This system and unwritten code only exist because we keep voting for them. Most of it has been made worse by parties like the Conservative Party and Liberal Party that require fees upward of $50,000-100,000 just to join a leadership race. The fees are only slightly less for a normal candidate looking to win a simple seat. The expectation is that if you're a small outsider, or a nobody, that you'll be able to raise the amount needed, usually from a few wealthy donors or an unrealistically huge base of grassroots supporters. The reason small outsider candidates could never win is because we aren't willing to give them a chance, not because the system is rigged. These small, lesser known candidates don't have the money to air expensive advertisements on network television and to get their messages to wider audiences. That's not their fault, it's our fault because we aren't willing to listen.
The influence of money is a symptom of our own making as voters. The candidates with the wealthiest donors and most money win because we let them. They win because we take those expensive, self serving 30-second lies on television more seriously than the proposals and ideas of broke, lesser known candidates. We act as though doing our own research and tracking down their messages, websites and policy ideas are impossible. We almost always opt for the easier task of waiting for messages and proposals to fall in our laps between segments of Survivor and The Walking Dead.
Our own laziness, complacency and fear enable this pathetic political culture. We've been too lazy to learn, too complacent to care and too scared of wasting a vote on a candidate that we think doesn't have a chance. If we want politics to start working for us instead of the political class, we need to change.
We can choose to change it all, or we can choose to keep electing the politicians who need focus groups to figure out what we need—because they've been in politics so long that they've become grossly out of touch. We can choose to keep the pathway to leadership littered with despicable, self righteous sycophants searching for the right boot to kiss, or we can carve a new path. We can choose to believe that showing up to vote in the House Of Commons for less than six months out of a year is too complex to handle, or we can give our heads a shake and quit letting them think they work harder than the rest of us.
We can keep letting them talk down to us, or we can start hitting them where it hurts.
If you're a construction worker who works more than 12 hours a day, you can keep letting your local MP, MLA and councillor think they work harder than you, or you can make your vote count. You can make your dollars count, too, by giving to that guy or gal with no experience. You can give them a call and dedicate an hour or two on your day off to help them win. Heck, you could even run for office as an honest, hard working alternative. According to the written rules of Westminster politics, there is nothing standing in your way. If you're unemployed or just struggling, your vote doesn't need to keep going to that MP or MLA who makes more than you'll ever make.
Haven't the dollars being deducted from your pay cheques added up to enough yet? How much more will you need to lose before you realize this isn't working anymore? How big do their pensions need to get before you do something about it?
If you're one of the few good politicians that somehow survived the culture, why haven't you taken a pay cut? Why do you own a bigger house than the construction worker who works 12-16 hours a day? Why do you get free flights and free meals around the world at his expense? Why did you tell him that you'd change things and fight for him when you knew you couldn't or wouldn't? How good are you, really?
Politics needs less politicians. It won't be the politicians who reform the political class and send waves of fear through the ranks, it'll be the people they look down on.
You can do it. I can do it. We can all do it. Let's change politics together and send the political class to hell.
© 2019 Poletical