Five Days to Go

One of the oldest political adages is that politics is personal. Those who run for an office–any office, from historian of the Philosophy Club to President of the United States–understand that adage more fully than others. Candidates might begin days with a strong sense of purpose and end them with spilled coffee, closed doors, and self-doubt. These people keep working because they believe in their vision and they’re drawn to public service. A tip of the cap to all of you who have run for office, and all of you who will.

The recent invasion of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s home absolutely reinforces the idea that politics is personal, and in the worst possible way. Rep. Pelosi, of course, was among those the January 6 rioters wanted to execute, and her center-left politics continue to make her the object of intense dislike from those on the right. However, our democracy lives and dies by the idea that we get rid of disliked politicians at the ballot box, not by stringing them up outside the Capitol. Political violence, whether it involves a riot or a shooting at a Congressional baseball game or a home invasion, should not be tolerated by any party. Rhetoric that escalates the likelihood of such violence should not be condoned, either.

Express your ideas and political convictions peacefully at the ballot box on Tuesday. If your candidate falters, think about throwing your hat in the ring. The best way to lead is to act.

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13 Responses to Five Days to Go

  1. Elijah Camba says:

    I believe that violence such as those that occur at January 6th, the shootings, and the home invasion reveal just how polarizing and personal politics can get. I don’t think there is any more denial of this reality. But I am confused about what leads to people acting in such drastic ways – in undemocratic ways. Is it from polarizing and propaganda promoting media outlets? Is it by misrepresentation? Is it due to the lack of education for some people? Or is this personal violence only by choice?

  2. Gracyn Young says:

    There is nothing less that people want than being “dictated” by a force with which they disagree. We see it all the time ranging from something small like a student disagreeing with a teacher or an athlete clashing with a coach, all the way up to larger incidents like citizens disagreeing with their elected representatives. Violence, however, is almost never the answer. I agree with your concluding statement, there is in fact no better way of leading than by your actions, especially if those actions are peaceful yet strong.

  3. Bill Arnoldus says:

    It seems as if more and more radical actions based on politics are coming from supporters of an organization called QAnon. Jake Angeli, otherwise known as ‘The QAnon Shaman’ stormed the capitol building on the January 6 riots. You might recognize him standing in the Senate chamber with a fur viking hat, red-white-and-blue face paint and the American flag tied to a spear. He was a supporter of QAnon, an American political conspiracy theory and political movement. David DePape, the assailant of Nancy Pelosi’s husband, also had QAnon affiliation. Many QAnon supporters are radicals who have been deplatformed on popular social media websites like youtube and twitter due to misinformatoin.

  4. George Utz says:

    Why are people so mean to politicians they are trying their best 🙁

    The internet is ruining the minds of our youth! The alt right and alt left pipelines have sadly radicalized far too many. So should we ban the alt right and alt left pipelines from the internet? You know what, while we’re at it, why don’t we ban all internet messaging entirely! The only thing it could ever lead to is violence.

    Of course, this wouldn’t work. Rather than banning the bad thing that makes people bad, something needs to be done to help people stay away from the entrance of the pipelines. What could be done to achieve this end? I haven’t a clue. But this is the first step in stopping the radicalization of America’s youth.

  5. Nicolas Neal says:

    Violence is never the answer, or so we tell children so they don’t fight on the playground. The neglect of violence as a legitimate means for inducing political change is often conducive to the perpetuation of illegitimate regimes, which is not to say that the January 6th invasion of the Capitol was an appropriate use of violence, but rather that operation within an established political system is not always sufficient to enact desirable change.

    Should you reject violence no matter what anyway, furthering the ballot box as the sole legitimate method of conscientious expression in a democracy is, too, regrettable. As the majority (or their chosen representatives) is/are perfectly capable of ratifying unjust laws, and there is no moral obligation to follow them. As NYU Professor of Philosophy Ronald Dworkin explains, “A general duty [to obey laws] cannot be an absolute duty, because even a generally just society may produce unjust laws. A person has duties other than duties to the state, including duties to conscience and other human beings. A person is thus entitled to do what he decides is right.” Furthermore, explicit violation of unjust laws as an alternative to simply casting a vote is often necessary to challenge them. As Moore’s Federal Procedure Manual points out, in the U.S., federal courts are constrained by Article 3 of the Constitution to only decide actual cases where the law has been broken, and according to Black’s Law Dictionary, similar rules apply to democracies across the globe.

    Categorical dismissal of violence and unquestioning devotion to democratic governance are two (among many) products of political conditioning that severely restrict political discourse. This isn’t to say that violence good and democracy bad, it is to acknowledge that those sentiments are closer to dogma than reason for most.

  6. Jack Sisson says:

    When the capital building was raided on January 6th, nobody was chanting “Let’s storm Bernie Sander’s office!” Most of the anger was pointed towards Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence, two fairly moderate politicians. The reason being that Donald Trump and his affiliates bad-mouthed the two at rallies prior.

    Donald Trump is THE example of manipulating lower-class Americans. People hear that Donald Trump is a Washington-outsider who will fight for them, and they believe it. Trump preaches trickle-down economics and hate against some random moderate-left politicians and gets worshipped, even by the poor.

    Trump’s rise from 2016 to now is unsettling. It shows the perfect storm of government distrust and growing polarization between two parties. Trump inspired many Americans to passionately hate Democrats and the government, almost creating a character trait. It’s sad to see Americans be manipulated, by either side of the aisle, but it’s especially disappointing to see poor Americans worship a billionaire as their savior.

  7. Noah Lee says:

    To a certain extent, politics should absolutely be personal. We are voting for someone based on the closeness of their moral and governmental ideologies to ours, and, to a certain extent, we have an obligation to express distaste when there is significant divergence between the two. And, while it’s clear that violence is an effective political force, under no civilized circumstance should it be used. Are we seriously going to witch-hunt people just because our political idol rightfully lost? Violence represents a degradation of culture and fairness, maintaining that physical strength should be the critical factor in ethical and bureaucratic policy. This system is intrinsically flawed: shouldn’t the merit of ideas be judged on their intellectual worth rather than their brutish proponents? We must not let our democracy fall into savagery, lest we risk our country falling into a terrible period of civil strife and divisiveness. We must learn to express our protests in peaceful ways and lay down our stubborn threats of arms, for a house divided among itself cannot possibly hope to stand.

  8. Rushyendranath Reddy Nalamalapu says:

    Stepping onto the political stage is an important decision for an individual’s career. From that point onward, there is always someone who disagrees. This is the nature of politics. In most scenarios, unilateral agreement on public policy or statutes will not be reached. To be successful in politics, it is important to be connected to a community, have appropriate negotiating skills, and understand the people through effective communication. As some other comments have voiced, it is not easy being a politician.

    When a person is elected or appointed to a position in a government organization, it is their duty to carry out their rightful obligations by serving the people. The reality of the situation is that politicians are human too, they have their own agenda, motivations, and desires. Political figures must balance their responsibilities while also ensuring they survive the next election cycle. This is true regardless of political affiliation. This dynamic could be laid out on a coordinate plane if you will. An axis can denote approval rating or popularity with the adjacent axis showing the magnitude of positive impact. Such visualization is subjective by nature but can hope to provide insight into the endeavour of what it takes to be truly successful in politics.

    Politics is a very personal ordeal whether it takes place at the ballot, on the house floor, or in the mind of an elected official. Every decision that an individual makes has an impact on their career and their livelihood. Events such as the Capitol Riots publicize the side of being a political official that does not usually see media attention.

  9. Jacqueline Smith says:

    I definitely agree that violence in politics is never the answer. Demonstrations, perhaps, but never riots, not even for the most righteous cause. The polarization of politics is a sad thing and something that most politicians aren’t willing to fix because it keeps them in power. This comes from a two-party system and the belief that more than two candidates will split parties’ voting fronts. I do believe that ranked-choice voting could be the answer to bettering democracy and accomplishing what people really want to be done. Individual candidates that aren’t necessarily far-right or far-left could rise and keep a more stable America. I think there should be more done to educate most young Americans about politics and world affairs, and there should be reforms to make our democracy stronger and better.

  10. James Talamo says:

    I believe that there are certain situations where violence is appropriate. If a government is killing, oppressing, and hurting its citizens or other group of people, then the people should rise against that. However, this isn’t the point we’re at in America. Our issues lie in hyper-partisan beliefs. We rather align ourselves with the ideas of a group instead of having our own ideals. Until this changes, political unrest from both sides will continue to be a part of American life

  11. Gordon Welch says:

    Through the connections of social media, people with insane radical ideas are finding the few and far between that agree with them. Violence is never the answer, especially in regards to politics. However, problems will likely continue to increase if nothing is done to show what happens if you violate the law. Common aspects of people who do these irrational things include lack of education and propaganda. Therefore, solving this problem completely is nearly impossible for the foreseeable future.

  12. Laya Karavadi says:

    I don’t ever think that violence is the answer because it really can’t get anyone anywhere. To be honest, if someone doesn’t understand what is going on and is not willing to acknowledge the other party’s opinions, then fighting will surely not solve anything. It will just escalate matters to such a high extent for no reason. Violence is only a short-term solution and only pleases one party with no actual benefit. If you disagree with someone, then work it out by communicating in a healthy way. If they do not have any interest in what you are saying then you cannot do anything about it. It’s sad, but it’s the truth.

  13. Dyllon Martin says:

    Choosing political parties should be personal in the sense that the party represents our moral ideals. That being said, taking any action on the opposing side due to a difference in beliefs is unacceptable. The saying, “let’s agree to disagree,” comes into factor during these instances. John Wesley spoke those words at George Whitefield’s funeral to say that even though they had doctrinal differences, they must, “hold fast the essentials.” This phrase is self-explanatory, but the meaning involves a deeper sense of self-reflection. Though one might not share the same beliefs, it is their right to believe that, and instead of dismissing their beliefs, we must simply accept and move on. Resorting to violence only leads to a hit on one’s own ideals since the presence of these actions directly reflects on not only the person but the party as a whole. In any case, violence shall be permitted from existing within a political situation, leaving only a victorious answer, whether that is one’s party or not. Nothing can be done after the majority has cast their vote, and for those left empty-handed, it is their job to civilly draw the majority to their side through factual evidence.

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