Copyright (c) 2012 Scott F Paradis
The battle is now in full swing. The lines are clearly drawn. All interested parties are engaged. Every voter thinks without a doubt he or she has right on his or her side. Each person acts for what he or she believes are uncontaminated motives driven by an unbiased perspective. That these claims – those of unbiased motives – are fantasy never enters into the equation. People always do what they think is right – no matter the consequences.
Two types of voters, partisans and the patrons, drive the election process. They are the foot soldiers and standard bearers for both major parties. Partisans and patrons are most engaged in the fray. But a third group, a group moved by a different set of motives, is the only one that could ensure a positive result – these are the purists.
Partisans are those individuals who are so emotionally attached to their biases that all that is required to secure their enthusiastic support is an appropriate label. These people see themselves as staunchly republican or staunchly democrat, liberal or conservative. It doesn’t matter to partisans what their candidates say or do, it only matters what label they wear. Partisans make reality conform to their predisposed view despite the facts. Reasoned discourse is not a possibility for partisans. These people are blind to any and every perspective that varies from their prejudice. Partisans draw the battle lines and will defend them till the bitter end.
Patrons on the other hand, are that esteemed class of political pragmatists. These are the practical people amongst the electorate. They recognize politics is fundamentally about the distribution of power. If they play their cards right, the end result will benefit them personally. The big picture is of marginal significance. What matters is how the patron can benefit; how the patron can profit; how the patron can prosper. The patron intends to win. They will invest time and money to generate a positive return; to claim political spoils. The truth is, others – the opposition or society at large – will bear the burden. The patron delivers whatever is needed to ensure, in the end, they are better off. The patron as a realist leverages the system, regardless of how corrupt it may be, to secure that which is ripe for the taking. Choosing which side or sides to support is key.
Partisans and patrons dominate American politics. The game is about what they have to gain; not about what society has to lose. These are the people who cast about the squalor of lies, half-truths, and deception to ensure their objectives are met. To partisans and patrons, the ends justify the means. Disparaging comments, character assassination, even threats, intimidation, and outright fraud are not beyond the scope of tactics to employ. The stakes are just too high to play fair.
What is sorely missing from the public square is reasoned discourse and civil conversation. In our emotionally charged election process purists are lacking. While we advocate education as a means to ensure freedom and prosperity, in politics exploration, learning and understanding are the last things we tolerate. People who are willing to put forth intellectual effort, to undertake the discipline of learning and embrace the enlightenment of understanding is a rarity indeed. The rancor of partisans and patrons so berate reason we all suffer for it.
We, the people, get what we deserve. Unfortunately partisans and patrons will determine yet another election and all Americans will suffer. Nurturing a purist sentiment is our only hope. Thinking, perceptive and compassionate people must come to dominate politics in America or we are doomed. We must replace selfishness, the most powerful of human motives, with enlightened self-interest. We, all Americans, are in this together. We will succeed or fail, prosper or decline together. We must reduce the dominance of partisans and patrons in the public sphere or we will pay a dear dear price.
More Election Articles