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This is a story about me and my past experiences on the world of politics. It is not a charming story and, as you can figure out by now, it is really biased, but hear me up just for a little bit.

In the early 2000’s, back in Brazil, my father, a PHD in Herbicides, was invited by the then mayor of the city to became the Environmental city counselor. At that time he was retired and that seemed as a good opportunity to make a difference and to do something fun with his retirement.

As you know by now I’m talking about Brazil and, as any country in Latin America, politicians there are as dirty as pigs (and right now I might be offending pigs). On the early 2000’s Brazil was a lot better than it is today, so keep this as context. Why would a honest man, intelligent one, mess with politics? I didn’t understand much then, but it didn’t matter, he wanted to make a difference and that is already saying something. The only difference, is that politics is not about making a difference.

At that time he was working on some really cool projects. One project in particular I loved. He was transforming the road medians into vegetable gardens for the lower income population. The city would provide the means and water to make the crop grow and the citizens would take care of the crop and in exchange, the citizens would keep the crop for their own consumption or sale.

Everything seemed to be going well, until, it went sideways. Like in a corporation, each portion of the city is worked as a department, so, as the Environmental Counselor, my father worked as the head of the department for the city environment.

There is a game in politics that the normal folk doesn’t understand, and, so didn’t my father or I. There is only 2 options in the political world, you either play along or you don’t. Think of high school. You are either part of the cool kids or you aren’t, and, we all know what happens to the non cool kids.

The mayor had different plans for my father department, and his answer to the mayor was basically: NO.

Now we were in a situation. The mayor hired my father because he thought that he would be of easy management and because of the big titles that my father had and now that my father doesn’t want to play along, he had to find out a way to take him out. Needless to say that things weren’t pretty.

This is where I started to be a part of all this mess. A Brazilian family is very united, most of the times, but when the worst times strike is that the unity of the family comes together and works the best. To avoid things getting even worst that it was, we decided as a family to convince my father of quitting his job.

Imagine convincing a man that he can’t make a difference anymore. Took time, but to properly doing so, we needed to make he understand first what was going on.

I spoke to friends, friends of friends, powerful persons on the city, people that cared until I have finally learned a few things and with that info, and everyone of the family pressure, my old man let go of his job.

The things that I have learned then, thought me how to be apolitical and for a good reason.

These are 3 things that I have learned that will beneficial to you:

  • If you want to understand politics you must read “The Prince” of Niccolo Machiavelli. This book is called by many as the the politician handbook. In countries like Brazil, being called “Machiavelico”, means that you are evil person and if you put that in the context of politics, a lot will make sense. A politician job is not to please the masses and it is to please his own interests, and the city interests, while selling that what he is doing is really important for the masses.
  • Who owns the information can dictate how it will be presented so don’t take for granted what news or a politician is telling you, it might be lies.
  • When things goes really bad, a experience politician will present entertainment for the masses. Think of Nero and old Rome. Whenever things were really bad on the city, the Coliseum had gladiator fights.

As is for me, I have stopped to study politics and I try to read in between the lines whenever there is a politician involved. Like my father I’m still trying to make a difference and for that I’m choosing other ways of doing so. Every election I go out and vote, based on what I believe would be the best choice and based on my knowledge and hope that it was the right choice.

Will the political game ever change, maybe, but I’m certain that not in my lifetime. For that to happen we would need a lot of people trying to make a difference.

By the way, the only reason why I don’t mention the mayor name and the city, is because I would never be able to prove what he wanted to do with the environment department of that city. All I can say is that someone would become really rich.