Tag Archives: Political Science and Popular Culture

The Problem with our Politics

Embed from Getty Images

Political parties and politics do serve a purpose in the betterment and stability of society, no matter how unstable they may seem. A political party is a tool by which people of a common perspective can organise and promote their principles and philosophy with one voice. These parties in turn have the ability to take that philosophy to the pinnacle of government and power and propose it as policy, should said party be elected into office. Yet when party comes before public the political process shows signs of putridity and decay.

Today there are a variety of party systems in use around the globe; often they are organised based upon the number of parties they allow for. Here in the United States, the political process operates on a two-party system, yet throughout Europe most polities operate on a multi-party system. Likewise, in some states one will find a dominant party system, which is essentially a one-party state yet with the trappings of a two-party or multi-party state. Each system does justice to its respective society, as only that party system which adheres to the framework of its respective society can properly do justice to its public. Yet in some cases the frameworks set up in some cases generations ago to keep the wheels of government well oiled and turning have proven themselves to be susceptible to rust and degradation.

If anything is going to halt the Republican Party’s march towards dominance in all branches of the Federal Government, it will be this principle that politics unbounded from the public need will always be overwhelmed by the public will. If the Republicans want to maintain their overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives in the 2018 General Election, they need to cast astray the bull that they let into the china shop at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. They must disassociate themselves from Trumpism and all its baggage. If the Republicans want to stay in power they should move swiftly with the transference of power from the current President towards the next guilt-free individual on the Order of Succession.

And yet, in a somewhat comical way, the House Republicans will most likely stand by their man to the bitter end. Like a pompous captain remaining aboard his sinking ship they will be submerged into the muck and mire that spreads from the current President like a virus. It certainly seems to me that that infection is too wide spread in the halls of power in Washington for any executive change to be made prior to November 2018. Perhaps then it is up to the Democrats to take the advantage and not only expel one of the greatest embarrassments to ever befall this country from that house across from Lafayette Square, but to also regain a more sizeable position in the House from which their own philosophy can shine.

The politics of the present are all too embittered by a bad case of food poisoning. Those in power more often than not seem poisoned by the power they wield, and the personal prosperity it proposes to offer. They have proven themselves to be far too unworthy of the position of public servant through their venomous guile, their lack of transparency, and their blatant disregard for the public will. If we are not careful, this poison could sink not only the current political parties, but the entire ship of state as well. The act of preserving the body politick is a duty not just of those in positions of power, but of all citizens, all persons with a vested interest in the continued goodwill and wellbeing of the body politick. It is just as much our responsibility to reform our political processes, as it is the responsibility of those in power.

If this reform is to be successful, it must be done without violence, but through discussion, debate, and dialogue. This reform must be on all levels and must include all individuals with a desire to take part. We must craft our political society in the image of the public that it serves; otherwise that political society will only grow to serve itself. Should that happen, we will be right back were we are now, and I doubt that would be anyone’s preferred outcome.

TopGear and Revolution

In 1783, the Thirteen American Colonies were officially recognised as free and independent states by their former mother country, the United Kingdom. Initially, each of the thirteen states were autonomous to the extent that they were effectively separate countries, united only in a weak document called the Articles of Confederation. The power vacuum left with the departure of the British colonial authorities led to a worryingly unstable situation across all Thirteen American States. Stability in government was only restored with the Constitution of 1787, the binding document which created the Federal Government of the United States, effectively creating the system of government that has kept the United States relatively stable, despite one civil war, ever since.

A similar revolution has occurred in the BBC’s hit motoring show TopGear, with the departure of the old order, led by the trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, who have gone to Amazon Prime Video. In their wake, the BBC has chosen a wide array of new hosts, led by Chris Evans, to take over one of their greatest hits. Having seen the first episode, Evans, American presenter Matt LeBlanc, and their fellow presenters, who frankly are more like corespondents than full time hosts, have truly put TopGear through a revolution.

The same old skeleton exists within, but the show itself is well removed from its predecessor. This new TopGear is like the Thirteen American States in the period of the Articles of Confederation; it is in a period of transition and still trying to figure out how to exist without its former presenters. Evans, LeBlanc, and the others have the same light hearted attitude to their work on TopGear that Clarkson, Hammond, and May had before, but at the moment it just does not seem to be as funny. With the former trio, I knew to expect that odd, somewhat nonsensical, at times pointless humour. As a result, I reviled in it, often with a big smile on my face for the entire hour long programme. With Evans, LeBlanc, et cetera, I laughed on occasion. Simply put, I am not familiar with these new hosts, and do not know what to expect.

Perhaps in a few weeks, once more of the current season of TopGear is broadcast, I will  be able to appreciate the new presenters, and new format better. At the moment, I am looking forward  to the first episode of The Grand Tour, Clarkson, Hammond, and May’s new programme, which will be released on Amazon Prime Video this coming Autumn. As to the next episode of TopGear: yeah sure, I’ll watch it. This new TopGear has undergone a revolution, but it still has a long way to go until it leaves the shadow of its predecessor and enter into its own spotlight.