One of my favorite lists has been debating presidential politics for a couple of weeks now. It’s one of the few homeschooling lists I’m on where this kind of discussion is allowed. And when it does happen, conversation is kept at a respectful level (mostly). I haven’t said much. Mostly listened.
After reading many, many posts, I started to see something I never saw before. The debates and arguments over who is right and who has the best perspective…it all sounded so familiar. So, I posted the following about presidential politics and homeschooling.
This actually ties into something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Politics are everywhere. Even in our local homeschooling groups. Even in our families. Even in our communities.
Understanding politics isn’t just about the presidential race. We can learn a lot about people, groups, and how power is perceived, even at a local level, by paying close attention to how public politics plays out. Reading about past politics, and finding out what happened behind the scenes is very important to understand local politics.
For example, during WWII, there was a huge cover up with a Nazi spy who defected to the states. The public never heard about this, yet it was a crucial turning point in American global political power. They had knowledge that helped them win, but it was deemed important that the public didn’t know how they came about that knowledge.
Whether we are a leader of the United States, or a leader of our local group, we have to manage people, power, and information. Who we become friends with, who we ask to help us, who we make implicit or explicit deals with… it all comes to play in how the group runs as a whole.
I look at our local homeschooling groups, and they have a difficult time dealing with power struggles. Information is held back, or exposed, for people’s individual desires for the group. This happens in business, in community clubs, at schools… everywhere.
So before we can even talk about how the president hopefuls should run their campaigns, we have to look locally. Do we even understand our local politics?
We have a lot to learn from the presidential race. We can learn from it, and use what we learn in our community. The presidential hopefuls are only different than us in that they are doing all of their politics publicly. Otherwise, it’s the same as our local groups. If we understand the politics process locally, and I mean really understand it – not criticize it or complain or be victims, but really understand how it works and how people work – then the public political process of the presidency doesn’t seem so strange, appalling, or frustrating.
I recommend reading books on politics – especially the behind the scenes stuff. Hardball is a good one. Even if you hate Chris Matthews, it’s an amazing insight into the world of politics, and why things happen the way they do, and why some politicians fall under the pressure, and why some shine.
If our kids grow up understanding this political process, both locally and publicly, (and that starts with us really understanding it), then they will be better voters, and be more likely to be involved and successful in their own political endeavors, even if that only involves their local chess club.