Saturday, June 20, 2009

Not so much politics as ethics

Politics. People shudder at that word now. I do too. My opinions now are just formed on what I think is right and important, something "politics" doesn't do for me anymore. People can talk and people can write but words just get said and written, and nothing gets done.
I registered on the Pirate Party site today. While this may seem political, it was something more symbolic for me. It was somewhat of a step in taking action. A very small step maybe, but at least I've found a direction to go. What they say they believe in is pretty idealistic, but that's who I am. What they want is the closest any other party has come to matching my preferences. While copyright reform and the such is a big point on their platform, they also recognize education and environment as big issues as well, and government transparency. They don't hate the government, they just want to use the government as an insturment of good, reforming it from the machine that it is now.
As a potential employee of the government, I can't say they don't mean well (the people I have met with at least; can't really speak for the congressmen and political types). Most of the army engineers and NASA engineers are great at what they do and love what they do because they get to help and educate people.
These are the kind of people that need to have serious input in our government; people who know whats going on and who it is affecting. It's like the old engineer and machinist relationship (can you tell what I do?). An engineer can design parts for an aircraft, optimized for the best possible performance, but never see the parts made or even the actual aircraft. The machinist is the one who deals with the practicality of making the part, installing the part, and inspecting the aircraft as a whole once the part is installed. All the engineer must think about is the big picture and how the part will revolutionize the industry. The machinist must deal with every aspect from production to inspection.
Now imagine those two never spoke. Do you think this part will be practical to build? Do you think it will have any chance of fitting perfectly on the aircraft? Chances of this project working are dramatically increased when the two professionals collaborate. The machinist may not know much about aerodynamics, but he'll tell you what the mill and lathe can handle. The engineer may not know what other parts are affected by his, but he'll make it optimized for lift. When the engineer is humbled and the machinist empowered, a sturdier craft is built, one that can fly higher, faster, smoother than any other craft before it.
That may be the cheesiest metaphor, but its the truth. The AH-64 Apache has over 5000 moving parts. It's a testament to the hard work of both sides. If a machine with that many intricate parts (and is unstable by definition) can fly into war and back, think what would happen when the politicians and the people not only coexist, but actively listen. The people are listening, waiting for a response.
That may be a sort of populist way of looking at things, but I don't think so. It's not giving in to people's demands; it's listening to what they have to say and applying input or, in the very least, responding. I want a good reason we can't have copyright reform. Not from the RIAA or the MPAA or any DRM wielding company, but from our governing body. And when I get that reason, I pray I have the courage to find a rebutle. 'Cause it's our right, and we fight for those.