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A politician is an individual who is a formally recognized and active member of a government, or a person who influences the way a society is governed through an understanding of political power and group dynamics. This includes people who hold decision making positions in government, and people who seek those positions, whether by means of election, coup d'etat, appointment, electoral fraud, conquest, right of inheritance (see also: divine right), or other means.


[edit] Definitions

[edit] Considered a politician

  • A person who is active in party politics.
  • A person who has the power to galvanize public opinion.
  • In a state, a member of the executive branch of government and the office of Head of State, as well as the legislative branch, and regional and local levels of government.
  • Any person manipulating group opinions in his or her favor can be termed a politician. For example, a worker participating in office politics is a politician, but only so far as the operations of his or her workplace are concerned.
  • Some members of law enforcement, such as sheriffs, and many judges who are elected or appointed because of their political views or popularity.

[edit] Not considered a politician

  • Members of government who serve purely functional roles, such as low ranking bureaucrats
  • Members of the judicial branch, law enforcement, and the military are not usually regarded as being politicians, despite the fact that they are involved in the decision process of government.
  • Ordinary citizens with the power to vote cannot properly be called politicians even though they can participate in group decision making. A politician participates in public debate that leads to a group decision being reached, while a voter is simply responding to that debate.

[edit] Criticism

Although politics has historically been considered an honorable profession, many people today have a poor opinion of politicians as a class. Not only do people oftentimes disagree with their policies, they are sometimes seen as unscrupulous, willing to do anything to gain power, or abusive of their position and privileges.

Politicians can also be criticized for becoming "career politicians." A politician who makes politics the source of their income, yet has to face re-election every few years can be less likely to make bold decisions or side with an unpopular bill. Some feel that fear of "rocking the boat" leads to a stagnant political climate, in which it becomes hard to address injustices and create change. Various measures have been taken to mitigate this effect, such as the implementation of term limits.

see also: political corruption

[edit] References

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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