Hate politics? You're not alone
A hugely unpopular, open-ended war in Iraq. A president who
won the White House
with a Supreme Court decision rather than the popular vote.
A global war on
terror that some would say does more to alienate potential
friends than to keep
us safe. An election that is more than a year away but
already has a huge number
of wannabe presidents shaking hands and kissing babies.
It would almost be enough, Benjamin Ginsberg says, to
motivate even Uncle
Sam to pack his bags and move to Canada.
But the Johns Hopkins University political
scientist and author offers a
more practical approach: Stay stateside and embrace your
inner cynic. That
pessimistic political approach is the core of Ginsberg's
new book, The American
Lie: Government by the People and Other Political
Fables (Paradigm Publishers,
"Once we see that politics is about self-interest and
rhetoric is the weaponry of political struggle, we can
begin to understand the
sometimes cold and harsh reality of the political process,"
said Ginsberg, the
David Bernstein Professor of Political Science and director
of the Center for
the Study of American Government at Johns Hopkins.
"Politicians do not strive
for office year after year because they are desperately
eager to provide us with
pension checks. Readers who are still of the opinion that
politics is driven by
an altruistic pursuit of the public good probably also
believe in the tooth
fairy and the Easter bunny and have total confidence in the
Despite assurances to the contrary, politics is not
about truth, justice
and principle, Ginsberg asserts in The American Lie.
Rather, it is about money,
power and status, he says. As Ginsberg argues in his book,
to fight for principles in order to conceal their true,
Ginsberg encourages citizens to become "realistically
cynical" in their
participation in the 2008 election process, to think
outside the ballot box and
find new ways to act on behalf of their own individual
interests and the greater
public good. And if voters do make it to the polls,
Ginsberg's advice is,
"When in doubt, vote them out."
GO TO JULY 23, 2007
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
GO TO THE GAZETTE