The Definitive Guide to Becoming a Politician: A Masterclass in the Art of Nothingness

article photo an image in a noir and slightly cell-shaded comic style, featuring an anonymous figure standing confidently on a stage representing the paradoxical nature of political life by Dr. Sam Goldstein

In today's world, it seems that everyone has a burgeoning interest in entering the realm of politics. The allure of shaping societal direction, influencing public policy, and holding a position of power appears to captivate many, from young idealists to seasoned professionals seeking a new challenge or platform. In the grand theater of politics, where the stages are as fickle as the weather in London, there exists a hallowed path to success trodden by the bravest and the boldest. It is a journey not for the faint of heart nor for those burdened with an overabundance of principles or a debilitating condition known as 'consistency.' Fear not, for I shall impart the five sacred principles of becoming a politician, an endeavor as noble as it is misunderstood.

  1. The Art of Selective Amnesia: First and foremost, master the art of forgetting what you said in the past. Remember, your past statements are like your old high school photos or yesterday’s weather - best left forgotten and unacknowledged. In the political arena, your words are as fluid as water, meant to take the shape of whatever container (or situation) they find themselves in. Did you promise to lower taxes last week? Irrelevant. Today is a new day, with new taxes to ignore and new promises to make. Embrace amnesia; it's not a bug, it's a feature.
  2. The Universal Yes-Man Technique: As a budding politician, your spine must be as flexible as a gymnast's, able to bend at will to the whims of your audience. Agreeing with everyone is an art form. In the morning, stand with the environmentalists; by lunch, cozy up with the industrialists. It's not hypocrisy; it's multifaceted diplomacy. Remember, in politics, you're not trying to be right; you're trying to be elected.
  3. Mastering the Art of Inaction: Ah, the pièce de résistance of any successful political career - getting nothing done. The key here is always to appear busy while carefully avoiding any meaningful action. Committees, subcommittees, meetings about upcoming meetings – these are your weapons. The goal is not to solve problems but to perpetuate them. After all, if you solve an issue, what would you campaign on next term?
  4. The Joy of the Paycheck: Let's not forget the primary perk of the job. This salary bears no relation to your effectiveness. As a politician, your earning potential is inversely proportional to the amount of work you do. And why not? With the weight of such minuscule accomplishments on your shoulders, it's only fair you're compensated handsomely for it. Remember, it's not about the money but the principle of getting the money.
  5. The Lavish Dinner Circuit: Finally, to ascend in the political hierarchy, one must become a connoisseur of free, lavish dinners or better yet junkets to exotic destinations. These events are crucial for networking, building alliances, and, most importantly, enjoying the high life at someone else's expense. The food tastes better when seasoned with a sense of unearned entitlement.

So, there you have it, the golden roadmap to a successful political career. Embrace these principles, and you'll be well on your way to a life of public 'service.' Remember, in this noblest of professions, it's not about what you do; it's about what you appear to do. Welcome to politics, where the promises are made up, and the points don't matter. Oh, by the way if you need a chief of staff, I am available. ◆

Dr. Sam Goldstein lives and practices in Salt Lake City Utah. He is a Board-Certified Neuropsychologist, researcher, author, and test developer with absolutely no political experience.