Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Motives matter, but results matter more

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, the opposite can be true as well. Bad intentions can often lead to good results. Especially when it comes to politics.

You may think that all politicians are corrupt assholes with no real concern for the average citizen.

Maybe. Maybe not. But does it really matter? What really matters is the policy. And how it impacts all of us.

Take healthcare. You could argue that the plan pushed by Obama is a cynical giveaway to the pharma and insurance companies, as both stand to benefit from many of the new laws.

But if most Americans also stand to benefit in the form of expanded coverage, no pre-existing condition clauses, more affordable coverage and better health outcomes overall, then who really gives a shit if the idea was concocted to please some big-time corporate campaign donors?

Same goes for the deficit. Some would argue that the only reason Democrats are pushing for higher taxes on the wealthy is so they can win votes from the elderly who think these taxes will help ensure that Medicare and Social Security remain intact. And you'd probably be right.

But again, who really cares? If the overall outcome is what you would want anyway, why get upset about impure motives?

It works on the conservative side as well. Republicans may be holding a rigid line on taxes because they've signed their political independence away to a radically libertarian kingmaker. But if you truly believe we will benefit from draconian spending cuts that disproportionately affect the lower class, then it's all good.

Politics will always be messy. Corruption will always play a huge role. And we should continue to be vigilant against it.

But the presence of corruption shouldn't be an excuse for a disengaged citizenry. If anything, it should push us towards greater involvement. Because we need to be fighting two battles at the same time. One against the forces that corrupt and another for those outcomes that will ultimately be better for our country.

Fighting two wars at the same time? It doesn't get any more American than that.


  1. Why oh why are you in advertising?? We need you in DC!

  2. Thanks. Guess I like multi-tasking.