Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


May 8, 2014

Lana Bellamy: Politics vs. government: 05/08/14

ASHLAND — Politics and government are not synonymous. Many people accidentally confuse the close relationship between politics and government to mean they are one in the same, but this is not true.

And never has the difference been as important as it is today.

In two weeks, Kentucky will open the polls for several exciting local, state and congressional primary elections. Each voter must decide his or her own method of selection, but the question is: Will they play into the politics or use their vote to promote prosperity?

As a student of political science, I have studied the role of politics in government. Government encapsulates the operations and functions of departments, agencies, elected officials and other similar fields. Politics is more of a sociological study of the role of individuals.

In other words, the base unit of study for politics would be individuals, while the base unit of study for government is more similar to institutions.

To bypass the scholar talk, my point is a hefty amount of politics is being played in Kentucky right now.

In Boyd County alone, there will be upwards of seven elections with nearly all candidates facing primaries opponents. If most of the other 119 counties in Kentucky are facing these circumstances, just imagine the amount of campaigning happening in the Bluegrass. Political campaigns are meant to encourage, persuade and inform voters on behalf of election-runners. But somehow, the informational motive of campaigning has fallen by the wayside, in favor of what are called “smear” campaigns run by mudslinging candidates.

Because of this, the whole subject of politics gets a bad reputation. I am not naive; I know hundreds of people love nothing better than to indulge in the negativity and drama of smear campaigns. And when they head to the polls on May 20, they will have no problem casting a vote in the name of snubbing someone else.

However, I encourage voters to refrain from that behavior and not get wrapped up in the politics, the personal relationships, the sociological motives of individuals. Instead, focus on what a candidate can do to improve the bigger picture, how he or she can better government, as a whole.

Ask yourself these types of questions: Can the candidate improve our governing institutions? Can the candidate manage his or her adherent departments? Does the candidate promote efficiency and fairness in all governmental functions?

You have two weeks to figure it out. Choose to rise above and make our community a better place.

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