Professional Politicians, Idealists, Polarization, and Immigration

The problem with true idealists in politics is that few true idealists are able to compromise, and no government, particularly a democratically-based government, works without compromise. 

The problem with most professional politicians is that their ideals are subservient to their desire to retain office, and to remain in office they will vote for popular but unwise policies and legislation. While popular opinion can be fickle, most widely held popular beliefs are simplistic ideals, all too often at variance with reality.

Thus, the combination of idealists and professional politicians mitigates against compromise and practicality, and the less that government accomplishes the stronger people’s beliefs become, in turn reinforcing the problem of polarization, largely because those beliefs are rooted in images only loosely connected to physical reality.

We see that today in the debate over immigration, where one side is convinced that the situation is urgent and the most important problem facing Congress, while the other side minimizes a non-functional bureaucracy that needs overhaul and more funding.  Yet the one side ignores the fact  that the immigration problem is in fact far less severe than it was a decade ago and that, while the immigration system needs funding and fundamental reform, building more walls won’t solve anything and would be a waste of money, while the other side wants what amounts to more open immigration without coming up with a coherent program for dealing with immigration. 

To top it off, neither side in Congress wants to really deal with the problems in Latin American countries that have led to the current flow of immigrants.  And because Congress can’t come up with a unified solution with enough votes to override a Presidential veto, Trump will continue his posturing and fear-mongering  until Congress smartens up… or caves in.

I’m wagering on a cave-in.

5 thoughts on “Professional Politicians, Idealists, Polarization, and Immigration”

  1. geoff soper says:

    – in a nutshell!

    again, you’ve nailed it!

    but god, I hope otherwise – & that the opposite, of the feared cave+in results


  2. Tom says:

    Bullies usually cave-in.
    Puppets do not: they must have their strings cut.

    Since half of congress has already caved-in your prediction seems most likely to result.

  3. Wine Guy says:

    The time for term limits for members of congress – both houses – is past due. By constitutional amendment, if necessary.


    As long as politicians of any ideological stripe can only get elected by pandering to an electorate too uneducated or narrow-minded to tolerate nuance, ambiguity, and complexity, term limits aren’t going to solve anything, just provide new faces making the same simplistic, unrealistic promises.

    1. Tom says:

      I have been hoping for LEM to supply a text of ideal political governing, to follow the fumes of “The Prince”.

      Do you have a suggestion of a system which gets into government, politicians who focus on increasing citizens quality of life as their national and international goal?

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