From grade school on we are taught to appreciate the American government and its civic processes as the cornerstone of freedom in the world, the ‘shining beacon on the hill.’ We are taught how to pledge allegiance to and revere a flag. We are told that goodness will prevail if we all just participate heartily and enthusiastically, playing by the rules.
We grow up believing that a basic responsibility of being born a human on planet earth is to participate in all of this political activity, and likewise, we are taught that non-participation is irresponsible, lazy, deplorable even. And so as good citizens do, many of us participate.
So, perhaps you’ve donated money to a political campaign or ran for public office. Maybe you’ve staffed for a political party or organized at the grass roots level. Maybe you’ve even joined the electoral process as a delegate, gone to your County or State convention, or just showed up with signs at the polls. Perhaps you’ve written your Congressman once or twice.
But is all this frenzy of well-intentioned activity doing our society any good or providing hope for a better future for our posterity?
Is it possible that our electoral system is cleverly designed to exhaust our positive, community-minded energies and to pacify our violent human will to live the prosperous and peaceful lives we deserve?
Could it be that the resources and energy we have applied to this social mechanism have been squandered in one of the greatest opportunity costs of all time?
Actually, when looking at politics as a drain on society, it becomes rather easy to conclude that we may be indeed wasting our greatest potential for societal progress in this endless game of ego satiation and public parade. Furthermore, it appears that the hidden costs of our political efforts have been quite vast, and have had many detrimental effects to our collective psyche and identity.
- Politics devours time, energy and resources that could be spent elsewhere.
- Politics creates widespread division amongst the populace by providing us with few choices and then positioning those choices as mutually exclusive enemies.
- Politics nullifies the value of society’s potentially most effective members by forcing passionate, community-oriented individuals into a rigid arena that demands conformity and ultimately defers to entrenched power cliques.
- Politics falsely empowers the thoughtless by providing an arena for people to believe they are positively impacting the world by simply pressing a button or checking a box when told to do so.
- Politics erodes our natural idealism by fragmenting our grandest ideas for our future into single-issue chunks that make little sense when taken out of context. Then by ranking and marginalizing them in accordance with various political agendas, then, again, by prioritizing them against conflicting entrenched interests.
- Politics gives us false impressions about what it means to be civilized. For example, it is not civilized to allow yourself to be raped by even the most polite of rapists, yet the success of politics relies on violated people being kind and patient with those who would selfishly saddle our futures with unbearable debts, endless wars and unacceptable restrictions to our personal liberty.
- Politics prohibits us from ever reaching our highest societal potential. Because politics never concludes it is always dramatic and we learn to adjust our lives according to its highs and lows, thus our psychological development is trapped by the imposition of these never-ending patterns.
- Politics protects society’s most heinous criminals by providing them the infrastructure, security apparatus, public platform, time and resources to obfuscate truth and protect themselves from meaningful prosecution. Election cycles, hearings, recalls, investigative committees and impeachments are an insult to justice when the accused are part of the government.
- Politics demands that we become dishonest in order to gain advantage.
- Politics consumes an absurd amount of financial and material resources.
- Politics creates and exacerbates massive public cognitive dissonance between the prosperous and peaceful world we know we should have and the world that a corrupt political class can actually create for us. By repeatedly failing to deliver on its promises, the political system becomes so unbelievable that we have no choice but to believe it.
- Politics severely limits society’s possibilities for meaningful and timely solutions to our most pressing problems by subjecting every opportunity for progress to the scrutiny, whim, and interests of largely corrupted and under-informed political bodies.
- Politics insults our intelligence with its embarrassing pomp, flashiness, hubris, blatant rigging, hokey formatting, omissions, dumbing down and oversimplification of important complex issues.
- Politics selfishly frames issues in terms of their impact upon people and fiat economics, largely disregarding our unmistakable dependence on the natural world for the gift we call life.
- Politics exhausts our spiritual energy by claiming the authoritative role in our lives and diminishing our intuitive capacities and will to search for spiritual truth.
In the pursuit of a brighter future for ourselves, families, communities, and this Earth, we must be conscious of how we expend our personal energies, so as not to misallocate it or feed them to something that does us harm.
Politics is presently the status quo forum for setting the course for society’s future, but, as humankind evolves we must be ready, willing and able to leave behind designs of the past that have ceased being of any value to our future.
Our continued participation in this circus performance we call politics continues to feed the illusion of its legitimacy. By withdrawing our consent and participation in politics we may be freeing up considerable resources to apply toward the creation of a better world, while simultaneously helping to snuff out this energetic vampire that feeds heartily on our collective good will and positive energy.