I use the phrase "that's politics, baby" a lot but I don't think I've really defined what it's supposed to mean. Basically, regardless of how nonsensical or petty or wasteful something done by either party seems to be, if it's legal it's okay in that it's all part of the process. The Game, if you will. In fact, it's expected as there's more to politics than dull speeches and empty promises.
There's an old saying that learning about how politics actually works is like learning how sausage is made. You're better off not knowing because reality can be stomach-turning. Before we get too deep in the big muddy, I do want to emphasize that I have no formal training or particularly special expertise on this matter. My degree was in journalism, but I spent more time interviewing bikers and musicians than I did state legislators or city aldermen.
This is just the cynical ramblings of someone who's been fascinated with the process for roughly thirty-six years, ever since Ronald Reagan stomped Walter Mondale like a government mule. I had to pay attention to election night for a school project, and between that and trying to understand the jokes in Bloom County, I've been hung up on it ever since.
As my own political compass evolved and drifted further left over the years, my fascination with the process has only deepened. Add in my natural cynicism and lack of a romantic soul, I think it gives me a somewhat unique perspective on why American politics works out the way it does. For example, a lot of Trumpists are unable to understand why Joe Biden, a man with all the charisma of dry toast, got so many votes across such a broad political spectrum. Or, for that matter, why the Democrats would go ahead with this second impeachment even though Trump is on his way out regardless. Or why so many Republicans would drop him like a bad habit after last Wednesday's Capitol siege even though it infuriated the Trumpists.
It's not always pretty, it's not always logical, and it's not always evident why it's being done in the first place. That's politics, baby. Of course, the problem arises when one side plays the Game by different rules they expect from the other side. And while I am very left-leaning, my interest in anarchism allows me to take a grander view, I think. I don't like the evils of the U.S. government, for example, but I understand why we have one and, maybe, why we need one. I may be all in for Medicare For All but I understand why Bernie Sanders failed to get a broad consensus on the matter. Doesn't mean we shouldn't try to fix the government and that doesn't mean that M4A isn't a goal to work towards.
I said all that to say all this, though. In the last four years, we've all learned just how little we know about politics. It's a messy business. Bernie Sanders is sharp enough to understand that if he wants to get M4A, he has to work with the rest of the Democratic Party and can't just tell them to go skip rope. It's also probably why McConnell is falling on his sword trying to scrape Trump off the GOP's shoe. Politics is a long game and it's never, ever quick, clean, and pretty, and the sooner we acknowledge that the sooner we can grow up as a people and advance as a society.
That's partly why I can't seem to shake loose this political writing. My mind's trained in journalism and I'll always be fascinated with the Game, but I'd love to have the inspiration to write about something, anything, else. I realize that a lot of it is simply because I don't get around much anymore. Back when I was interviewing bikers, musicians, and the rest and getting their stories, I had more places to go. Now, the best I can do, fiction-wise, is character sketches and thinly veiled fan fiction.
Anyhow. As I write this, it's 7:20 in the morning. I could tie it off here but I think I'll let it hang until at least this afternoon in case something else pops up.