Thursday, May 19, 2011

DeMolay, Politics, and Fraternity

This week our Commonwealth held its primary elections. Most of the candidates were for local offices, with some looking to gain seats in the State courts. As I've written in previous blog posts, I'm not a huge fan of the blatant political games, but I've come to realize that politics are a necessary part of any human social interaction. Whether you think about it or not, interpersonal politics play a massive role in our everyday lives.

I'm also drawn to this subject as I have been watching Game of Thrones, the new series on HBO. I actually read all of the novels relating to this series before it came out. It is one of my all time favorite pieces of literature. While it contains a large amount of sordid material, it's the politics in the series that really draws my attention.

So, as I sat down to write a blog post of some sort, I realized that a discussion about politics might be in order. "Politics" has become a dirty word in the English language. It's come to be associated with under-handed deals, back-stabbing, in-fighting, and every other kind of maltreatment in humanity. It seemed, in my mind anyways, that the best place to start with a political discussion would be at the definition of the word. According to Google, politics is defined as:

noun (plural) /ˈpäləˌtiks/ 
politics, plural
  1. The activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, esp. the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power
    • - the president's relationship with Congress is vital to American politics
    • - thereafter he dropped out of active politics
  2. The activities of governments concerning the political relations between countries
    • - in the conduct of global politics, economic status must be backed by military capacity
  3. The academic study of government and the state
    • - a politics lecturer
  4. Activities within an organization that are aimed at improving someone's status or position and are typically considered to be devious or divisive
    • - yet another discussion of office politics and personalities
  5. A particular set of political beliefs or principles
    • - people do not buy this newspaper purely for its politics
  6. The assumptions or principles relating to or inherent in a sphere, theory, or thing, esp. when concerned with power and status in a society
    • - the politics of gender

What does that tell us? It seems that politics is generally divided into two categories - those dealing with administering and governing organizations and people or maneuvering for personal gain. I'm not going to deal with the temporal or governing ideas. Rather, I think it's important that we take a look at the idea of using politics to get ahead.

People are inherently trained to dislike the phrase "playing politics," but we all do it. It's a necessary part of life. If you didn't use politics, you'd never be a leader in any group or organization. You'd never accomplish much of anything. People get mad if they think you have used some method to get ahead of them. But, that's what this world is about. Getting ahead inherently means that you left someone behind, doesn't it? That's the nature of the beast, because we all want to get ahead. 

DeMolay is politics. I can't sugarcoat that. When you become a leader, it means you had to get elected, which means you played politics. Becoming a State Officer is a huge political game. We don't like to think of it as that, but it is. That's how elections are won and lost. However, there is a Brotherly way to go about this. Stating facts and saying what you are going to do as a leader is the right way. Slinging mud and tearing other people down is the wrong way. Learning to play the game as an upstanding citizen is the first key to the whole deal and that can take a life time by itself.

So, I encourage you - don't get angry or disheveled at the idea of politics. Learn to work within the political realm. If all else fails, remember the idiom - "Don't hate the player, hate the game."

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

1 comment:

  1. I think it's worth mentioning that Politics comes from the Greek Root "Polis" meaning "citizens" or "city" as opposed to "demos" meaning people. The ancient Greeks felt that politics was a noble calling because it called upon those so engaged to reach for that more noble part above the antics of hoi polloi.

    In seeking political offices or other noble things people should focus on what is best for the order and not necessarily best for the individual. E.g. It would be awesome for one's ego to be Deputy Executive Grand Supreme Secretary (or like title) yet, if you're not best for the job, or the organization would be better off with someone else doing it then the more noble part of you should realize that.

    The player can make the game a better place by remembering no matter what the election is, we're brothers first.
    Oh, hello soapbox, I'll get off of you now.