|Politics as a Vocation
|Politics is a strong and slow
boring of hard boards. It takes both passion and perspective. Certainly all historical
experience confirms the truththat man would not have attained the possible unless time and again he had
reached out for the impossible. But to do that a man must be a leader, and not only a
leader but a hero as well, in a very sober sense of the word. And even those who are
neither leaders nor heroes must arm themselves with that steadfastness of heart which can
brave even the crumbling of all hopes. This is necessary right now, or else men will not
be able to attain even that which is possible today. Only he has the calling for politics
who is sure that he shall not crumble when the world from his point of view is too stupid
or too base for what he wants to offer. Only he who in the face of all this can say 'In
spite of all!' has the calling for politics.
In a PBS documentary on the national
parks, the filmmaker Ken Burns argues
that [o]nly a democracy could have thought that land could have been set aside, not
for the rich and nobility, but for everybody for all time.
My own research on the origins of public parks tells a more
complicated tale, one that separates rhetoric from reality. In a recent piece in the Journal of Policy
History titled "Make of Them Grand Parks, Owned in Common," I look at
newspaper editorials and the shamelessly contradictory way in which they used the language
of democracy to advance the creation of the Adirondack Park between 1864 and 1894.
Recently, I also co-authored two pieces with
Christopher J. Bosso. The first, "'High Hopes and Bitter Disappointment:' Public
Discourse and the Limits of the Environmental Movement in Climate Change Politics"
appears in Norman J. Vig and Michael E. Kraft's popular text, Environmental
Policy: New Directions for the Twenty-First Century, 8th edition (CQ Press, 2012). The
second, on "Issue Framing, Agenda Setting, and Environmental Discourse," is
published in The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Environmental Policy (Oxford
University Press, 2012).
My latest project, titled "A Cooling
Climate for Change? Party Polarization and the Politics of Global Warming," is in the
January 2013 issue of American
To view my full curriculum vitae, click here.
Dr. Deborah L. Guber
Department of Political Science
The University of Vermont
Old Mill, Room 532
94 University Place
Burlington, VT 05405-0114
Office: 519 Old Mill
Office hours: Tuesdays and
Thursdays from 1:00-2:30 PM, and by appointment.