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Government Apathy - A Different View - Articles Surfing

I have always believed that political apathy starts at the bottom. That is the citizens. They do not go to meetings when issues are being discussed that impact their lives. They do not speak up at the earlyist opportunity to provide input. I recently came across an article that challenges my theory.

It was written by someone who just refers to himself as Dan. No last name. It was written in 2002. Dan lives in Britain, but what he says could also refer to the United States. Dan believes that apathy comes from the top down. Not the bottom up.

Dan writes, 'It is an inevitable end result from the transition of politics from an art form that is dominated by those who engage in politics for the love of politics, and a genuine desire to improve conditions and see good done, to cooler, colder, more calculating 'career' politicians, who see it as a job, like in any other company, where the goal is to keep the current party, or company, in power, without the regard to what happens in the country as a whole.

Politicians are, indeed, apathetic. They seem to have no true beliefs these days. This is sad, but also inevitable; since to belong to a major party these days is to allow oneself to be submitted to their rules - namely, you must not have an opinion unless it is that of the party. There is no belief behind their politics.'

Dan continues, 'Now, if the politicians really cared and were there for love of country, then they would be more outspoken and genuinely campaign for what they think is right. But they do not, since they love their jobs far too much for that. They stay in the safety and toe the party line. They are apathetic, in short, about genuine politics.'

Dan's conclusion is, 'If politicians or other commentators bemoan that no younger people these days are interested in politics, then how can they be blamed? They should look around them - the politicians aren't interested in politics, the politicians in power aren't interested in the public's wishes, and the public, in term, has nowhere to turn to get things done. They created my apathy. They must remove it.'

Dan is certainly correct. Partisan politics now permeates our government. It does not matter what the issue is. If one party supports an idea, the other party opposes it, just for the sake of opposition it seems. There is no attempt to find common ground to solve problems. The bickering is non stop. Politics as we know it today, is split along party lines. Period. Exclamation point!

I had never belonged to a 'party' until about four years ago. I was watching Meet the Press. Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe was the guest. Mr. McAuliffe looked straight into the camera and told me that I was either with him or against him. There was no middle ground. If that was the case, I concluded, I needed to do something. So, I joined my local Republican Party. I'm not an active member. I simply pay my dues. But, if I had to make a choice like Mr. McAuliffe said I had to, that would be my decision.

It is indeed unfortunate that decision had to be made by me. I preferred to keep my Independent status. But, I couldn't.

Dan, you've made me think. I'm not ready to agree that apathy is a problem that starts at the top down. But, you definitely have made me think about it.

Thanks Dan. This is what politics should be about. Making each other really think about the issues and then reaching our own conclusions. We should not being force fed what to believe by any party.

Copyright 2006 Al Arnold

Submitted by:

Al Arnold

Al Arnold is the Founder of the National Association of Local Government Activists. The association dedicated to fighting Local Government Apathy. http://WWW.LocalPolitics101.US.He is also the author of Moving Mountains and Molehills Local Politics 101, a book that explains how you can be effective in local politics.



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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