Politics without Politics

One of the more bizarre debate tactics common in our duopolized discourse is accusing one's ideological opponent of 'playing politics,' as if such accusations themselves were not just another means by which the duopolists 'play politics.' In an opinion piece for the Bennington Banner on the tug-of-war between the executive and the legislature in Vermont's state government, Charles Putney points out the obvious, namely: that is politics.
Also not new are the cries of "politics" from politicians. Those cries always sound like whining to me — whoever makes the charge. Of course it's politics. That's how we govern. Politics is about the use of elected power to serve the people. Different people see that service in different ways. Arguments happen. People lose votes. Of course it's politics and it's good for us. It's what makes us different from a totalitarian regime where no one gets to argue the point — someone just decides.
A Google News search for 'playing politics' delivers over six hundred hits for the phrase in just the past week. The prevalence of this turn of phrase and the ideological attitude it implies is symptomatic of the effort to depoliticize politics itself characteristic of duopoly ideology. In a report on NY Governor David Patterson's response to the Republican "coup" in the New York State Senate, Michael Harris writes at the Examiner that Patterson . . .
was furious that the legislature chose to take to divisive partisan politics during the final two weeks of the legislative session, which he referred to as, "Not the time for politics. It's the time for governance."
Such statements, common in the everyday discourses of both Republicans and Democrats, presuppose that governance is nothing more than the a-political, technocratic administration of things, rather than the product of the political process itself. Like the bipartisan front, this proposition is fundamentally authoritarian in nature and sustains the fantasy of a politics without politics: let's put politics aside and implement my agenda.

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