LAKE MACBRIDE— One definition of politics is it’s the practice and theory of influencing other people on a civic or individual level. To be sure, politics is about persuading people to do one thing or another, and in the end, it means exerting power over others. Sometimes this is positive, and others less so— and politics is not necessarily a choice between good and evil.
In our country, we have a long history of persuasion and influence that includes popular figures, celebrities, charlatans, politicians, hustlers, hucksters, thieves, businessmen and women, dilettantes, and persons of varying credentials, some spurious and others genuine. Most of all this is widely accepted. A simpler definition of politics is it is life in society, and a motley amalgamation of ingredients for making a life.
Our lives are separate from politics. During a typical day, if such a thing exists, there may be few discussions about partisan politics while at the same time everyone is trying to persuade everyone else of something. The topic of whether Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016 simply does not come up when I’m with most other people. Nor should it almost three years before the next presidential election. Politics is a lot more than the endless cycles of partisan politics.
The power of politics influences my behavior, but not so much. Sure, I’ll exercise diligence filing my tax return, comply as best I can with traffic laws, and try to be a good neighbor. Beyond that, it is easy to break away from the body politic to live a life, especially as the year-end holidays approach. Yet politics takes no holiday. If anything the entreating parties increase the din of their pleas as one year ends and another lays in waiting.
In this quiet home place, the tax collector, the insurance companies, the lenders and retailers clamor for attention, and can be turned off, at least for a while. We are left with the pinkish sunrise of a new day and hope for a tomorrow where politics takes a long holiday. Something that by its nature seems impossible, but nonetheless, is the stuff of dreams.