Thursday, October 25, 2012

On Career Plans and Congress

I'm a Poli Sci major (as referenced in the post "My Fake Major").  This means that I spend most of my time in classes that focus on how the government runs, domestic and foreign policies, and theories about how states should form/act/etc.  Which means I pay a lot of attention to politics.  And I've realized something...

When you get a Poli Sci major to talk about their future plans, if they have any, you tend to hear: campaign advisor, lobbyist, diplomat, civil servant, lawyer...  One of my friends even wants to go into work in the prison system, because, hey, we'll always have prisons. Very, very rarely does a student go into Political Science with the goal of becoming a politician.  Or maybe it's a few years of studying the system that scares us all out of it.  Who knows really?

But I think it's an interesting indictment on our political system that the students who have devoted their college careers, and potentially their lives, to studying it want nothing to do with it in the end.  In my case, as I think I've probably mentioned before, it's because I think domestic politics gets far too clouded by things that don't really matter.  It also has a lot to do with the fact that I find it sad that people's personal and family lives are dragged through the mud in an attempt to prove they're not suitable for office.

But just imagine how differently our system would operate if the people who spent their lives studying the field were the ones who went into government.  If you didn't have to explain to the average Congressman the difference between debt and a deficit.  If everyone in government knew that states are all constitutionally required to submit a balanced budget - one that requires BOTH cuts in spending and increases in taxes, if necessary.  If the people arguing for state sovereignty knew the thinkers who gave that phrase meaning.

We require our lawyers to pass the Bar Exam.  We have the highest academic expectations of our doctors.  Yet we don't have an educational requirement for the people we let run the country.  And so the people who spend their lives learning how the system works end up going elsewhere - either outside of it, or inside, learning to game the system instead.

Politically Yours,
Rachel Leigh

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