by Jan Goehring
In a recent Comments on Congress, Lee Hamilton, former Congressman and Director of the Center on Congress at indiana University, defends politics. It is common to hear people using dismissive language such as it's all "just politics" or they were being "political." But, Hamilton asks, "how do you resolve issues in this country without politics?"
His answer is that you can't. Our political process is designed to grapple with and resolve the pressing issues of the day and to allow myriad interests to be heard. Disagrement can be difficult, but politics is what engages us.
So when we demonize politics — when we disparage compromise, ridicule policy makers searching for common ground, criticize legislators who give way on one front so they can make progress on something they care about even more — we drive Americans away from the only reliable means of settling issues that we have. We alienate them from our democracy.
Hamilton has written extensively about Congress and American democracy through Comments on Congress.