Growing up in a household where the highest level of education is a high school diploma, I learned to summarize politics into two categories; democrats and republicans. Additionally, democrats were for the poor people and republicans were for the rich people. Before entering this class that was the only thing I knew about politics. Furthermore, during every election I adapted to believing that the republicans were the enemy and the democrats were interested in looking out for my needs and my wants; my friend.
From the beginning readings of this class, pertaining to “The Trial and Death of Socrates” and Martin Luther King Jr.’s , “A letter from a Birmingham Jail” I furthered my claim as I set people from those readings into my two categories. The people charging Socrates were the republicans that followed the rules set to benefit them. As a result, people such as Socrates represented the democrats; the oppressed . The people who have no say-so on the rules and power or authority. It was the same way with Martin Luther King Jr. who challenged segregation laws and jailed for being a threat of taking the law-makers out of their comfort zone.
It wasn’t until Machiavelli’s, “The Prince” that I encountered a society that I could not compare my theory to. There was one ruler and his rule was based on the interest of the state. There is no doubt about it that The Prince wants glory, but in order for that glory to be obtained is by pleasing the state’s interest. Therefore, both the Prince and the state gets what it wants. If everyone is getting pleased, from my interpretation of politics, who then are the oppressed? Who are the democrats?
My thoughts were conflicted as I read through Hobbes and was told that the best way to be protected is to give up ones rights to an array of men and let them protect you from what threatens your life. It all seemed to make sense that if we trust one person or a multitude of people to work within our self-interest; then everything else would simply fall into place.
The reading that altered my perception of politics more, was the readings of Burke. Burke’s theory was to simply let people do what they want as long as they do not trespass upon others. Furthermore, he stated, “Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide human wants.” (“Reflections on the Revolution of France”, pg.513)
With these readings, I looked at society today and recognized that the world of politics was not just democrat and republican. Furthermore, republicans weren’t the enemy and democrats weren’t just the victims of it all. Just as before, there are people in power, who make the rules, and people not in power (the people who abide by the rules). According to my interpretation of politics, republicans consisted of only people in power and everyone else were democrats. However, it is not so that that every single republican is in power. Additionally, there are working-class republicans just as there are working-class democrats. As far as the oppressed is concerned, they must always exist. Rather republican or democrat, African-Americans, or women, there must always be an oppressed group in order for society to be prosperous. Simply because everyone wants a self-verification that they are more important than someone else. That is why there can even exist a theory that republicans are for the rich and democrats are for the poor. It is the idea of self-importance. Concluding, I no longer summarize politics into the theories of democrats and republicans. Nor do I classify myself as either. For when I look to vote for my first time I will look for the Machiavellian theory that the ruler should look to please the interest of the state. I will make sure that the representative follows the Hobbesian theory to be able to trust the ruler with protecting me from threats against my life. Finally I would want them to keep in mind Burke’s philosophy’s that the people should have the freedom to do as they please without trespassing upon others. More importantly, to keep in mind that “Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide human wants.” (“Reflections on the Revolution of France”, pg.513)