Sunday, September 15, 2019

#258 / Wanna Bet On It?

I recently found out that there is now a way to transform our national politics into an opportunity to make money by gambling. Or to lose money through gambling, if you really want to be honest about it.

Would you like to place a bet on what's going to happen in American politics? Click on the link to be transferred to PredictIt. An article by freelance writer Whitney Kimball, published in The Daily Dot, will give you some guidance before you put your money on the line. 

I am not very much tempted by this invitation to turn our all-too-typical "horse race political commentary" into a chance to gamble (just like on the real horse races). First, I am just not the betting kind! Second, I have an objection based on my deep concern about the future of politics in the United States. This idea of turning politics into a betting game gives me the shivers.

I believe we create our human world, the world upon which we most immediately depend, through the political actions we take, individually and collectively. I never tire of telling my students that the "equation" I set out below is the political equivalent of E = MC2

Einstein’s equation tells us about the incredible power that resides in the matter that constitutes the physical world. This is the World of Nature upon which we ultimately depend. The following equation tells us about the power that resides in politics, the activity that creates, sustains, and transforms our human world: 

Politics > Law > Government

Political “action” is what powers our institutions of self-government. “Betting” is an activity that is based on “observation.” We are, of course, both actors and observers, but democratic self-government is based on the idea that we must at some point stop "observing," and that we must take “action” to make things happen the way we want them to. 

Instead of “betting” on Elizabeth Warren, or Bernie Sanders, or Cory Booker, or Joe Biden, or Kamala Harris, or Julian Castro, my advice is to do something about it! Take action to support the person you want to represent you.

Political power comes from political action. Our political actions elect those who will represent us, and pass the laws by which we tell ourselves what we want to do.

If you care about self-government, you need to get involved, yourself, in the politics that will define our future. "Betting" on what is going to happen to us is the antithesis of trying to make things happen the way we want.

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