Politics Advantages & Disadvantages
Advantages of Politics
Changing one's country or world requires political action and awareness of how it is structured and works. Otherwise, apolitical citizens can be led like cattle by the minority in power, and attempts for change become less effective, if not aborted or diverted, wasted on wrong/irrelevant causes. Life can even be dangerous if political freedom is limited, where regimes depoliticize and suppress citizens, to keep the fate of an entire country at the hands of a few, turning people away from politics, and threatening the life and livelihood of many, politically involved or not.
However, it's always possible to exercise politics by using the "power of people," the driving force of political change—the masses: NGO's, labor unions, private economy, technology/media power, protests, strikes, and constant "supervision, exposure and pressure" by the people, that politicians only "work for." It's the people, the source of all power, who brings real change to a country, by revolutions, elections, and collective awareness, growth and production, more than that of a single individual or small ruling minority.
People politics takes place together with/parallel to/away from political leadership at the "center of command." However, excessive power centralization is a mutual curse, as oppressed masses can always "close in" on oppressive leaders, just as they can topple whoever atop society's hierarchy. Reform is achieved by both bottom-up and top-down approaches, as society's strata are inseparable from each other, statesmen from laymen, and politics from daily life.
Politics organizes life, saving countries time, effort, accidents, injustices and conflicts. Otherwise, people act tribally and resort to the law of the jungle, driven by instinct and arbitrariness, fighting and killing as before state and its establishments were ever made. The more backward states are, the more urgently they need politics, to be informed, organized, and advanced, eventually.
Politics is all about the rule of ORDER, to put everyone in society in their right niche, for true development. It is enforced by a competent administration chosen by competent people, positioned at the right time and place in state's hierarchy, whose decisions must lead to improving citizens' life. Politics isn't just the rule of people, who need to grow up politically to naturally respect order, simultaneously while gradually ruling themselves. Politics doesn't mean keeping order by excessive force either, which inevitably builds up tension leading to even more chaos, division and violence. A strong coherent political order is one that has room for political diversity, alliances, opposition ... representing all citizens' choices that make up the entire country's "collective" voice and force, moving it forward.
Every citizen, job and living necessity are somehow related to and affected by politics: one's income, health, shelter, and LIFE. Just as money's main function is security, so is politics' (which is partly an extension of economics, i.e. studying the distribution of income). Politics helps one predict future dangers to avoid, and opportunities to grab. Entire countries are saved bloody crises, conflicts and wars, by merely learning and practicing politics, rather than waiting for chance, instinct, and foreign intruders to decide their fate.
Although some fear "fighting" for their rights could lead to even more insecurity, it's only temporary, leading to longer stronger security afterwards, to properly protect and enjoy one's hard-won rights. Fighting doesn't necessarily mean violence; it means tenacity and insistence on one's goals. Learning, planning, and negotiating for such goals are more favored, to get what one wants with minimum cost and damage. A wise politician knows that politics is a deal, where it's absurd to pay/sacrifice more than one gets.
One should learn and practice enough politics mostly to feel secure, not necessarily to turn into a political activist, analyst, or addict; or permanently, hopelessly sink into the quagmire of politics.
Disadvantages of Politics
"No politics" is better than wrong politics sometimes. A political order is good only depending on those designing, enforcing, and mindfully following it.
When citizens don't learn or practice enough politics, they may want to have their full rights immediately, or force their political views on others without hearing them to see the whole picture. Fighting for one's rights, which is a legitimate cause, can turn futile, chaotic, barbaric, and bloody sometimes, if one doesn't control one's passion, focus on priorities/basic rights, know one's role & abilities, and appreciate time, dialogue, and diplomacy.
Excelling at one's work, trade or study is usually more useful to one's country than political activism, as expressing patriotism takes many forms.
Nationally, an entire country going through a deep political change can be temporarily unstable and vulnerable, like in an open-heart surgery, which is dangerous to some (inhabitants/visitors/investors), and useful to others (anarchists/opportunists/foreign intruders). Some states had been divided, occupied, or completely ruined during an untimely/unconsidered political change.
Personally, politics brings one to the spotlight, which has its price. It's difficult to hide in politics, operating behind the scenes and keeping a low-profile. Whatever one says or does, even before working in politics, can be taken against them. You can't satisfy everyone, or guess what everyone might do when they are not satisfied. The risk can equally lie in those you support or criticize, ally with or against.
Working in politics requires extra protection of one's life, family, reputation, finances, etc. Changing one's country and world, to be a better place, is a great pleasure and goal with a high price too. To achieve political goals with minimum risk and best results, a politician needs the trust, respect and support of most if not all people, his/her primary tool for change. Additionally, he/she needs extra political knowledge, intelligence, patience, influence on others, and desire to change society.
Politics is intrinsically unjust. The best political system cannot consider every citizen, segment of society, or world country. As long as one is represented by others defending one's rights, there will always be instinctive bias. Nobody should rule anybody; only law should. The latter is more possible and less error-prone with technology's help, as in e-government, eventually replacing all politicians with electronic ones.
Politics is a battle where society's ethical codes are commonly violated (by lies, libels, bribes ... assassinations, wars) where insecure citizens and leaders always desire more control for survival, the law all laws derive from. A politician needs power to change society; yet he/she can easily grow into a power addict, obsessed with power for itself or for his/her own self-interest and cronies, tempted by the enormous resources and people under his/her control, thus gradually losing focus on improving society, and becoming corrupt (if not a despot/war criminal). Choosing politics as a vocation out of personal ambition/enthusiasm only can lead a politician to manipulate others, and others' fears and weaknesses: to gain more power, money or fame, propagate personal views, or enjoy others' praising, begging ... or suffering.
Excessive politics consumes countries' and people's time, energy, health and life, leaving less for other avenues (scientific research, citizens' welfare, etc.) that politics should "only" organize and prepare for. When you over-worry about your country's/other countries'/the world's fate, you end up with infinite possibilities, scenarios, and undecided moves to make next. It's an ever-changing game, where today's tactics could be useless tomorrow, that one's sense of security shouldn't derive from, but rather from things seriously affecting life. Wise men shouldn't obsess over the here and now because life is more than this place or time. Instead, learning about the past, the future, and other environments, cultures and sciences helps us see a more diverse, enjoyable, peaceful, mostly "politics-free" life, that many unfortunately miss while wasting the one-time experience of life anxiously following news like a never-ending marathon or soap opera.