A characteristic of today’s political dialogue is the tendency to evade the terms right and left. Despite their ubiquity in other parts of the world, the homogenization of local electoral politics, due to the prevailing populist tradition, has replaced the debate of alternate social visions with the contentiousness of the status issue (the issue of the formal relationship of Puerto Rico with the United States) and the struggle for political power.
This section proposes to outline the importance for free societies of facing today’s fundamental ideological debates. By doing so, the public dialogue can incorporate the discussion of the real possibilities of change in public policies and in the structure of State institutions. We hope to contribute to reverse the present tendency among political parties and the commercial mass media to privilege the triviality of partisan politics, personal confrontations, scandals and the demagogic language of publicists. Democracy today does not have external enemies, in spite of the official rhetoric of the Bush administration and other fundamentalists groups. The real enemy is internal: indolence, cynicism and the abandonment of the political.
There are five articles in this section. One summarizes the transformation of the terms right and left throughout the XX Century, leading to today`s ideological polarization. Another provides functional definitions of each contending mentality. A third article explains the present difficulties of local political parties in recognizing those ideological antimonies. The fourth recognizes the natural antagonisms of the political arena, a theory which must be recognized in order to see the illusion that they can be eliminated. We also included a fifth text on the dangers of polarization. Taking into account real political identities must not lead to strategies of polarized tension.
Our intention here does not lead to reductionism; merely emphasizes the centrality to free societies of the simple practice of debating, with a critical attitude, actual political alternatives. And that essential social action must be based in turn on the assumption of real political identities.
Roberto Gándara Sánchez
Centro de Investigación y Política Pública
Author: Proyectos FPH
Published: January 22, 2008.
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