I’ve often wondered about going into politics. Ever since I studied the subject as a teenager in school my mind has been open to the possibility of becoming one of the countless cogs that form the government that purports to maintain and advance our society. My style of rule would not be the unfashionable despot kind and running the world as a Dr Evil-type person (these days it’s difficult to tell the difference!), although it’s a thought that has crossed my mind when it comes to Northern Ireland.
Maybe I could be a councillor or some other low-level party member who does what little she can to make life a fraction easier for the people in her community. There are so many things that irritate me about politics in my home country that at other times I wish I could play a larger role in the decision-making process to strive to make a difference in people’s lives, both now and in the future. Because that is one thing that politicians seem to lack today; the idea of a future that exists past the next election.
In Northern Ireland there is a worse obstruction of progress, and that is the stench of sectarianism that embodies every governmental decision. If I was in charge, or at least part of a group or party that worked together for the people, I would make some changes that would impact positively on the lives of those living there, an objective of most people entering the political profession, I have no doubt.
Although it’s a minefield, and I can see how those with the best intentions can find themselves feeling helpless in the face of bureaucracy.
For the most part, politics and messing around with people’s lives is not an exact science, it’s not a science at all. It’s mostly guesswork, shifting things around to see what works and what doesn’t work. And if there’s one thing we’ve learnt about humans it is that you can’t really guess what they’re going to do or how they’re going to work.
Yes, in some cases it seems like we are all sheep, blindly following others, but we can quickly change depending on a plethora of factors. This is what social scientists try to do; learn about human behaviour for various reasons, and politically, this is vital information however riddled with inconsistencies and difficulties.
World is what we have created
Sometimes I think if we could just master the social sciences in a similar way to pure science we would have a better idea of people and discover why they act the way they do. Are we sheep or do we have some autonomy?
We use the social sciences to get an idea of people and act accordingly. But it can never be an exact science because humans just aren’t made that way. We’re chaotic and messy, even if we try to control our worlds, which we can’t, because the world is what we have created. Apologies, I’ve digressed again.
Being a politician in Northern Ireland would be a difficult task, I must admit, because we’re very different from a lot of other societies and cultures, with a unique history that makes us who we are. And we’re amazing, if I do say so myself. But no matter where you’re from, though, everyone wants the same thing — a home, warmth, heat, lighting, family, employment, education.
Perhaps I’m simplifying too much, and there are smarter people than me to debate and argue over what’s best for the people. Life has been made so much more complicated today that maybe it’s time to rethink the simple things that we as humans need most. Or the despots will come a-knocking.
Christina Curran is freelance journalist based in Northern Ireland.