Opinion: Politics – A Zero-Sum Game

Donkey and elephant | Image by Victor Moussa

For those who believe the world is on the level, I give you a study in politics 101. Inasmuch as politics is where we get our elected representatives, which form our government, it’s important to know how it works. It’s also important to know what often happens to people after they’ve been indoctrinated into a system that breeds conformity. Candidates generally have high ideals when giving speeches and making promises to potential constituents. However, after they catch the sweet scent of influence and power, some of those principles may get lost in a swirling sea of dealmaking. Before I go any further, I will stipulate that all politicians, like all used car salesmen, are not dishonest and greedy. At least, not in ways that are easily detectable.

Politics, after all, is the art of deception and manipulation. That’s why the cynic in me calls it a game played by the elite to maintain their power and control over the masses. At its core, politics is a never-ending circus arena filled with smoke and mirrors, with politicians as the clowns trying to keep the audience entertained while they pick their pockets. When Congress gives itself a raise, do they ask you, their employers, if you can afford it? How is it that the average American makes about $35,000 per year, about 20% of what the members of the House and Senate (our employees) make?

Politicians are nothing more than actors, playing their roles and spouting meaningless rhetoric to win votes and curry favor with their donors. They have no real principles or beliefs, only the desire for power and the perks that come with it. They will say whatever it takes to get elected, promising the world to their constituents while delivering nothing but disappointment and broken promises.

Behind the scenes, politics is a cesspool of corruption and backroom deals. Lobbyists and special interest groups line the pockets of politicians, ensuring that their interests are served at the expense of the common good. Campaign finance laws are circumvented with ease, with the wealthy and powerful able to buy their way into political influence.

In the political arena, truth is a casualty of the game. Politicians will twist and distort the facts to suit their agenda, with lies and half-truths becoming the norm. The media, complicit in the game, plays its role by sensationalizing stories and feeding the public a steady diet of sound bites and spin.

The political process itself is a sham, a rigged system designed to give the appearance of democracy while ensuring that the powerful remain in control. Elections are often decided by gerrymandering, voter suppression, and other tactics that undermine the will of the people. Even when a politician is elected by a majority, their ability to effect real change is limited by the entrenched interests and bureaucracy that dominates the political landscape.

In the end, politics is a zero-sum game, with winners and losers decided by who has the most power and influence. The needs and concerns of the people are secondary to the demands of the elite, who use politics as a tool to maintain their wealth and privilege. The common good is sacrificed for the benefit of the few, with the rest of us left to fend for ourselves.

In the final analysis, it’s not cynical to say that politics is a cesspool of corruption, it’s an accurate depiction of a system that sells candidates to voters through multi-million-dollar ad campaigns, similar to selling toothpaste or cereal. It’s a venal enterprise, owned by the wealthy and powerful to maintain their grip on society. Moreover, it’s a system that rewards deceit, manipulation, and avarice, with politicians as the willing pawns in the game. Until we are able to overcome the entrenched interests that dominate our political system, true democracy will remain an elusive dream, and the needs of the people will continue to be ignored.

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  1. Opinion: Politics – A Zero-Sum Game – Round Up DFW - […] Dallas ExpressMay 9, 2023Uncategorized […]

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