Thursday, December 1, 2011

When Ideology Meets Nessessity

I have been trying to be consistent on the point that there is a big divorce between the political ideology people say they hold and the policy outcomes they prefer. I encounter this quite a bit when writers make passing comments about things they can or cannot do, with little acknowledgement on the political process that allowed whatever outcomes they're discussing. As an example of this, I would like to direct you to this essay on FrumForm.

It's the latest in a series of pieces written by a recently unemployed college graduate writing under the pen name of "Galatea". The author admits to having libertarian sympathies in one of the earlier entries, (which causes some cognitive dissonance when applying for unemployment benefits) but is otherwise silent on the policy implications of her current lack of employment. The latest entry strikes me as most sympathetic so far, if only in recognition of the mental toll long-term unemployment can have on a person. For example, Galatea writes:
I'm breaking out everywhere and getting a rash on my face.
However, the very next sentence, the author breezily recalls that
I'm still on my mother's health insurance, so technically I could see a dermatologist. (bold mine - JMG)
Immediately upon reading this, the glib retort "You can thank the Affordable Care Act for that" ricochets around my head. I don't want to be particularly flippant about this, but the inability for people to make the connections between the material welfare they get to enjoy (even when they're unemployed) and legislative work that went into securing these kinds of benefits is a source of never ending irritation to me.

Politics is more than just partisan gamesmanship. The more this point is obscured, the more disservice we do the democratic ideals that underpin the country as a whole.

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