Skip to main content

Politics is much more simpler when you assume that one person can order something done, and it happens.

This, however, is a Democracy, so everything's caught up in the effects of complexity, both in terms of the society that elects voters, and the Congress and President voters elect.  The dynamics of our institutions are by their nature complex, and sometimes frustratingly so.

We would like to respond to the political world as if it's situations were just the sum of all those thousands of individual issues, but the reality is, our system is more than the sum of its parts.

What's more, our politics deals with issues that are themselves complex enough to behave as more than just the reducible sum of their parts.  Our economy's like that.  So's the media environment, especially now we've got the internet and its great density and lateral complexity of structure.

As such, even before these times, but especially now, we are faced with a situation where if we don't deal with the higher level of political complexity, we might just find our policies set back quite a ways.

We cannot have a good discussion of individual policies without discussing how we prioritize different policy aims, and how we decide which course to take in our rhetoric and our philosophies.

We call it meta because it's not about one event or one bill or one article, because it's about what we think about politics overall, and it's disparaged as being somehow inferior to the harder stuff.  However, if we don't deal with the higher-level issues of how we're dealing with politics, I think we can miss the forest for the trees, and end up in situations like our current one, where we overburdened an unconsolidated pair of wins with greater expectations than an informed look at the people involved would merit.

We expected our politicians, the same politicians, mostly, who helped Bush pass his tax cuts and start his war out of fear of the right, to suddenly be more confident and more willing to stand up to the Republicans.  We confused our confidence, our willingness to pick a fight with the Republicans and throw them back with our politician's, and were too complacent to recognize that the exterior threat of the Republicans pushing back was more pressing than the internal fight over policy, than in fact, the conditions that aggravated that fight were deliberately set by the GOP for that purpose.  The Republicans needed Democrat's political support to self-destruct, and we obliged.

We cannot win against the GOP merely on the basis of our individual policy stances.  It is important to keep the larger vision alive, and persistent despite the setbacks, self-inflicted and inflicted from without.

We need to be thinking on a meta level, because the meta level of politics is where this fight is taking place.

Originally posted to First Amendment Remedies on Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 02:41 PM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site