A politician is not just someone who decides to make a living manipulating public perceptions, with the power to shape the transaction of public or communal affairs. A politician is also someone who understands the purpose behind the rules and regulations, the traditions and customs, the do’s and don’t’s of so-called “public” life. He or she acquires most of that understanding through actual involvement in the process of governance. It cannot be acquired without that involvement. I am not a golfer, although I “know” most of the rules and regulations, traditions and etiquette of the game, having watched it for years.

It is therefore ridiculous to suggest that non-politicians would do a better job of governance than politicians. That is the equivalence of suggesting that because your favorite basketball team stinks, we should replace them with people from the stands. A more sensible strategy would obviously be to find better basketball players.

If, then, we are to improve on the current abysmal political performance at the National level, replacing poorly trained politicians with untrained ones is not a winning strategy (basically why we are where we are today). Providing training for those aspiring to enter the political arena makes much more sense.

Unfortunately, as long as we pretend that the only way to train politicians is on the job at the National level we will never get well-trained politicians. The NBA and the NFL know that players are trained in colleges and high schools, and they do everything they can to support and encourage their development, for entirely selfish reasons. Yet our legislators apparently see that training as a threat, and worse still, we, the citizens, see it as an un-necessary expense.

Systems of local government (city, district, island etc.) are the “schools” in which politicians are trained. Creating the systems that provide that training is the way to replace non-performing politicians, not constantly looking for “good new people” or so-called “outsiders” with little or no training, but lots of loud and irresponsible threats for those with whom they disagree, and no commitment to the development of social justice.

April 10, 2016