The Art of Politics

by on Saturday, 07 April 2007 Comments
Politics has a bad name.

To some people who are not politicians politics is the scheming of a few to impose their policies on the many.

To those who don’t like what the government is doing, politics is the reason why things are going bad.

To others politics is all the underhanded ways and false promises politicians make in order to win votes.


But at the same time:

it is because of politics that bad politicians do not always prevail;

it is through political interacting and maneuvering that good policies eventually replace bad ones.

Without politics there would never be a balance of power, only the chaos of anarchy.


Politics is generally associated with government.

It the process through which those who govern make decisions.

Usually politics is practiced through the agency of people with similar ideas who band together in so-called political factions or parties.

Politics, however, is not exclusively confined to governments. There is politics wherever policies have to be decided by persons. There is office politics, church politics, school politics, etc.

Whenever people interact to gain an advantage or power so their decisions will be the ones followed, there is politics.

Politics is conversation, debate and manipulation in order to establish and maintain authority and power.


One of the most important things to remember about politics is that not everyone gets his or her own way.

The only way that there can be united purposeful and practical action is for everyone to agree on one united plan of action.

In politics not everyone gets what he or she wants.


The art of politics is

knowing progress only comes when everyone pulls together;
knowing how to bring those with different ideas to accept yours; knowing when to set aside your ideas to yield to those of others;
and knowing how to cooperate for a common purpose.


There can only be politics when men and women are free,

free to monitor and question,
free to disagree,
free to speak out and discuss and propose new ideas,
free to change direction,
and willing to accept and follow consensus.


Not everyone is a politician,

but everyone, no matter what his or her profession or status in life, needs to know how to interact with others politically.


The Greek philosopher Aristotle said that man is a political animal.

This means that all men and women by nature are continually engaged in interaction with others through the exchange of ideas and debate, so that the right decisions can be made about how to live and work together.


This means that every individual has a responsibility to be political.

If I am not, if I simply go my own way letting others do whatever they want, then I am neglecting my obligation to society.

We need to make our voices heard so that everyone gets a share of the common and not just those selfish few who snatch power from those too weak or too unconcerned to stop them.


As I political animal, I should:

know what is going on,
know what is right and wrong,
stand up for what is right and wrong,
and throw in my support for those who are actively engaged in governing.


There are lessons hidden here.

There is a time for pulling for your ideals
and a time for pushing for those of others.

When you know you are right
you have to fight for your rights.

Sometimes the right thing
is to yield to the rights of others.

Politics is art of regulating
the use of power
for the greater good of all.

Good politics
puts public benefits
ahead of personal advantage.

Bad politics
puts selfish interests
ahead of public needs.

Politics without justice
is totalitarian selfishness
and the abuse of power.

Politics without charity
is inhumane cruelty
and the abuse of power.

Politics without ethics
is immoral
and the abuse of power.

Politicians without political support
have no power.

Citizens who condemn politics
are condemning themselves
if they do nothing.

(Picture by Liang Zhun)

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