‘I Believe in Politics’

Mark Shields, in NPR commentary series called "This I Believe": "I Believe in Politics," he says. "In addition to being great fun, politics is basically the peaceable resolution of conflict among legitimate competing interests."

He points out that "compromise is the best alternative to brute muscle or money or raw numbers. Compromises that are both wise and just are crafted through the dedication, the skill and, yes, the intelligence of our elected politicians."

He "like(s) people who run for office" and admires the sacrifices they make to do so. I do, too. "Politicians boldly risk public rejection of the kind that the rest of us will go to any lengths to avoid."

"I admire enormously the candidate able to face defeat with humor and grace. Nobody ever conceded defeat better than Dick Tuck who, upon losing a California state senate primary, said simply, ‘The people have spoken…the bastards.’ "

"I believe in the politics that wrote the GI Bill, that passed the Marshall Plan to rebuild a war-devastated Europe, that saved the Great Lakes and that through Social Security took want and terror out of old age. The kind of politics that teaches us all we owe to those who came before us and those who will come after. That each of us has drunk from wells we did not dig; that each of us has been warmed by fires we did not build…"

"At their worst, politicians — like the rest of us — can be petty, venal and self-centered. But I believe politics, at its best, can help to make ours a world where the powerful are truly more just and the poor are more secure." (Hat tip to Joel Achenbach’s blog for this.)


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