How To Train Your Politician


I’ve been surprised lately by some of the vitriol being directed at Jan Brewer following her veto of SB 1062 (that would be the “anti-gay” bill that got through the Arizona Senate, or “screamingly offensive and blatantly homophobic bill” if you want to aim for accuracy). The reason I’ve been surprised by the vitriol has been from the source: it’s come from people I know who are liberals. That’s right, some liberals are angry that Jan Brewer didn’t sign this prejudicial garbage.

The argument, as best as I understand it, is that the politicians who run Arizona now are evil to the core, and having passed this bill would have simply reaffirmed that fact for all the world to see, and (hopefully) would have created a popular uprising (I’m not sure if this would have been at the polls or in the streets) that would depose those same politicians and bring in some sort of proper, upstanding government that would have respect for human rights, common decency, and all right-minded folk. (Such a government would be a historical anomaly, but I digress.)

“Evil” is a strong word. Disagree with someone all you want, but evil puts them in a camp where there is no compromise, there is no common ground, and there is no understanding. That’s the same sort of language used by the people who would have seen this law succeed, and not just the politicians. I’m not trying to suggest that these are wonderful people, or that I would ever want to join them for tea, but unless a bloody armed rebellion IS the goal, heated rhetoric like this serves no purpose except to ensure determined and continued opposition.

Regarding Ms. Brewer specifically, I have heard is said that she came to the right outcome for the wrong reasons, those being politically rather than ideologically motivated ones.  I for one believe we should applaud her all the more if that is the case; in today’s charged ideological climate, going “against the grain” of your own (or your party’s) convictions because that’s what the people who elected you want seems to be a virtue in short supply. Actions speak so much louder than words, and reasons don’t matter when outcomes are faulty; they should be equally relevant when the outcome is correct. If she got to the right place, regardless of her reasons, she should be praised, so that she will (hopefully) learn that there can be positive outcomes to taking good actions, just as there are negative outcomes for bad actions. We train politicians in the same way we train animals, even if the animals are smarter and less likely to bite the hand that feeds.

The simple fact is I believe all politicians are guilty until proven innocent, and I have yet to see that proof for any of them. If you plan to sit down to eat with them, bring your longest spoon. But when one of them finally manages to do something right, even by accident, at least reward them a little. They might recognize the “why” that goes with the “what”. It’s even possible others will learn by example.


3 Comments on “How To Train Your Politician”

  1. Pat Hoolahan says:

    Thank you

  2. Harley says:

    I’m not from Arizona and I’m not for the bill but there is a double standard here, We say the people in Russian have a right to want freedom, but people in America doesn’t have the right to think like Communist. Your post suggests we deal with these free thinking evil Americans the way Russian government would. This is not liberal or conservative America, it’s our country governed by the constitution and all of its freedoms, whether you like them or not.

    • Bob Bonsall says:

      It’s interesting to me that you took that away from my post, as I read it (and intended it) in the exact opposite way. Of course I believe the people have the right to believe as they will, and to vote their conscience in all things. Nor did I call anyone evil; quite the opposite in fact:

      ” “Evil” is a strong word. Disagree with someone all you want, but evil puts them in a camp where there is no compromise, there is no common ground, and there is no understanding.”

      I DID go on to accuse those I oppose of using that kind of hyperbolic language, a stance that I won’t back away from because I believe it to be true. They are entitled to do so, and I am entitled to call them out on it. Even so, the only class of persons I specifically and generally denigrated was politicians, a stance I will not apologize for. As I have noted before, Public Choice Theory does much of the heavy lifting in discussing the issues with politicians, but my feelings regarding them can be summed up in short as “those who do the least do the least harm”.

      Regarding “the constitution and all of its freedoms, whether you like them or not”, I invite you to read a bit deeper into my blog, specifically the Anarchy X series, where I explicitly explored the Bill of Rights. I am a firm supporter of the Constitution and the rights and freedoms we have; I am not a supporter of the idea that any group can curtail the rights of any other.


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