In a world obsessed with differences and division, it is tempting to believe that the art of politics has been lost or perhaps never even existed at all. It’s hard to remember a time when two politicians sat down to have a genuine conversation about peace, unity and fellowship in the community they were elected to represent.
However, the disheartening reality of U.S. and international politics today does not take away from the true meaning and art behind politics. The purpose of politics is that of unity, fellowship, peace, protection, harmonious living and human flourishing. The challenge that faces us in the political sphere is an encompassing one. It revolves around the very identity we have endowed ourselves with and how we choose to live our lives in relation to the people around us. Politics attempts to find unity in the face of great division. We as Americans and humans are divided across cultural, educational, geographic, religious and ideological boundaries, which sometimes seem almost impossible to breach. The rift between identity has grown and swallowed our very understanding of human nature and innate rights.
While this challenge is one well worth pursuing, it is by no means a science. Throughout time, philosophers have argued and came to very different conclusions about what is the solution to division. The true art of politics is the skill, commitment and passion for pursuing unity, truth and human dignity. This kind of artistry comes from years of learning and experiencing the world. It cannot be found in textbooks, decades of education or persistent debate. Instead, this art can only be mastered over time and patience devoted to true human flourishing and peaceably living in community.
Mastering the art of politics does not come from a place of corruption, power or deceit. In fact, it cannot. There is no formula for resolving human conflict and no equation to determine the correct ratio needed for fellowship among people. No amount of convincing or conversing can establish the correct and moral way to govern a society. Instead, both the plight and salvation of the art of politics is its dependency on human connection. Politics does not, and cannot, be effective without looking past our own prerogatives in favor of pursuing harmony. It is an essential condition of human relation to approach people with empathy, grace and a recognition of undeniable humanity. In resolving conflict between people so vastly different, yet so fundamentally similar, there is no other way to approach a resolution than to recognize the uniquely complicated experiences and understanding of the world which informs each person’s politics.
In order to master the art of politics, one must first master the unity, respect and love for humanity which is necessary to being a public servant. Without a devotion to these things, the chasm of division which separates our country and world cannot be resolved. It is up to us, civilians and politicians alike, to pursue these skills and master the art of unity in politics.