One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

“Political will” — them’s just words

Dahlia Lithwick, in a smart critique against why — legally — arguments that Obama should not investigate torture and abuses of power by top Bush administration officials don’t make the snuff, brings some important insight about that nebulous concept that gets bandied about so often — “political will.”

Of course all this is not the language of the law either. It is the language of self-fulfilling prophecy. With each successive recitation that there is no political will, the political will dissipates. With each repetition of the mantra that Americans just want to turn the page on the past eight years, Americans feel ever better about turning the page.

I think there’s something to be said for the notion that the concept of “political will” itself — with regard to most any object — only gets stronger the more we talk about.  Seen in that lens, even the efforts of advocacy organizations to muster — inevitably, political will must be mustard mustered — political will among legislators could be interpreted as, counterproductively, reifying the very concept of (insufficient) political will and thus making the target of the advocacy even more distant.  Because political will almost exclusively exists in its lack form, it’s acquired a rather negative connotation, and each time its lack is lamented, it is, effectively, legimated.  It’s not always intentionally self-fulfilling, but the “repetition of the mantra” does seem to accumulate into one giant snowball of political will.


January 12, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: