GRE Issue Essay 24

“The goal of politics should not be the pursuit of an ideal, but rather the search for common ground and reasonable consensus.”

What is politics? Is politics restricted to the government and the political leadership that implements policies which affect the lives of millions of citizens? Most people consider politics as something that is represented by corruption, competition and a race to gather votes. However, the truth is that politics is a game of power. Certain individuals are granted the power and authority to provide solutions to the existing conflicts in a society or an organization. Therefore, it is not necessary that politics is limited to the government only. One can come across politics in an organization or institution that has given its employees the empowerment to elect a group of people to govern their functioning and also resolve their conflicts. In either case, the goal of politics has to be the pursuit of an ideal situation or else the people in power may find it very difficult to identify the restrictions and policies that are essential for the smooth functioning of the country or organization.

Searching for common ground and reasonable consensus may lead to issues that remain unresolved especially since none of the conflicting parties would like to make an adjustment to their demands. One can see the example of an organization where the power to make undisputed decisions lies with the boss. Even in the past, all tribes, empires and countries had leaders and rulers who made the decisions to resolve conflicts for maintaining peace and harmony in their reign. There was no need for them to search for common grounds and reasonable consensus. This was because such a decision could have been cited by some party at some other time to demand justice.

In present times, the elected governments that exist in most countries make the task of politics much easier. It is the people who have elected the political leaders to power and they are the ones who can change the leadership at the center if it does not come up to their expectations. The same holds true for organizations wherein the top management has been elected by the employees of the company. Therefore, the leadership has to carefully set an ideal goal for itself in the form of rules, regulations and policies. They should not deviate from their ideal even if it means losing their power. This is a major stumbling block for a majority of leaders. Who would not like to always remain in power? Therefore, the need to arrive at a common ground or reasonable consensus arises because all politicians try their best not to disappoint their vote bank while resolving an issue. However, in the long run this can prove to be detrimental for the well-being of a nation or organization as a whole, because the society would be living in conditions that are far from ideal and this is definitely not what was in mind while electing the leadership at the center.

If there are two parties fighting over an environmental issue or an educational issue, how should the matter be resolved? Should the leadership favor the solution that has been arrived at by studying common ground or should the leadership look for what the ideal solution is in such a scenario and implement that irrespective of the damage it does to the face-value and vote bank of the political party? The first solution will effectively lead to the end of the disagreement between the two parties, but the solution would be far from the ideal situation that would have been the best for the society. The second solution would definitely disappoint one of the parties, but the nation would gain from such a decision as it would lead the society towards an ideal situation, but unfortunately, it might jolt the leadership out of power. Therefore, despite the heavy risks involved, the best option for politics is to maintain a goal that is the pursuit of an ideal no matter how expensive it might prove to be. This is because attaining such a goal will result in the betterment of the entire society as a whole.