College of Political Knowledge
Subject: Political Theory
This country, the good old US of A, is suffering badly from partisan politics….it had its beginnings in the impeachment process of Bill Clinton…..everyone that had a mouth, voiced his/her opinion….can you imagine how worse it would be today with all the 24 hour news cycle millionaires looking for a story? Not one of the networks is concerned with truth and fairness, only the ratings and how it effects their bottom line. We think politics is a circus now……it would be far worse.
For a decade now people have been playing in “identity politics”…….but what is identity politics?
Cressida Heyes writing for Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy…..
“Identity politics” has come to signify a wide range of political activity and theorizing founded in the shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups. Rather than organizing solely around belief systems, programmatic manifestos, or party affiliation, identity political formations typically aim to secure the political freedom of a specific constituency marginalized within its larger context. Members of that constituency assert or reclaim ways of understanding their distinctiveness that challenge dominant oppressive characterizations, with the goal of greater self-determination.
The scope of political movements that may be described as identity politics is broad: the examples used in the philosophical literature are predominantly of struggles within western capitalist democracies, but indigenous rights movements worldwide, nationalist projects, or demands for regional self-determination use similar arguments. Predictably, there is no straightforward criterion that makes a political struggle into an example of “identity politics;” rather, the term signifies a loose collection of political projects, each undertaken by representatives of a collective with a distinctively different social location that has hitherto been neglected, erased, or suppressed. It is beyond the scope of this essay to offer historical or sociological surveys of the many different social movements that might be described as identity politics, although some references to this literature are provided in the bibliography; instead the focus here is to provide an overview of the philosophical issues in the expansive literature in political theory.
For decades now the term has been the rallying call of so many groups…..whether it is gun rights, women rights, abortion, religion, etc…….these groups try to make politics about one thing and one thing only…..a single issue. It is good for activists but bad for a political system that prides itself on political inclusiveness.
Identity politics is NO longer some obscure offshoot of philosophy…..but rather has become mainstream.
An identity is established in relation to a series of differences that have become socially recognized. These differences are essential to its being. If they did not coexist as differences, it would not exist in its distinctness and solidity. Entrenched in this indispensable relation is a second set of tendencies, themselves in need of exploration, to conceal established identities into fixed forms, thought and lived as if their structure expressed the true order of things. When these pressures prevail, the maintenance of one identity (or field of identities) involves the conversion of some differences into otherness, into evil, or one of its numerous surrogates. Identity requires differences in order to be, and it converts difference into otherness in order to secure its own self-certainty. (Connolly 2002, 64)
Look at Mitt Romney….he has NO specifics other than Obama sucks…..according to polls he is running almost neck and neck with Obama……those who will vote for him will be voting because they do not LIKE Obama….not Mitt’s wealth of solid solutions for our problems……..
Identity politics is here to stay…….like it or not…….single issues will rule the political landscape for the foreseeable future…..before we can return to the business of a country that is by the people, for the people and of the people!