We’re honored to have a guest post today from friend-of-the-blog, the ‘Deja Reviewer‘. His post asks a reasonable question, and in light of the actions of so many recently in elected office, it’s probably a question more folks should be asking more often.
When was the last time you truly admired an elected official who represents you? And when I say “admire”, I specifically mean that you understand that this individual:
- Put their pride aside and always tried to do the right thing.
- Served his/her constituents rather than seeking power for its own sake.
- Was morally upright in his/her personal life.
- Was the kind of person you aspire to be.
How many spring to mind?
Can you think of one?
Why Don’t We See More Noble Politicians?
Unfortunately, public office doesn’t always attract people of this caliber. Or maybe it’s that people who meet such high standards rarely make it past a certain point because of lack of funding, or a refusal to compromise to get strategic endorsements.
Whatever the case, “public servants” often seem to forget about the “servant” aspect of their job description once they’ve been elected. They are sworn to preserve and protect the Constitution and maintain liberty in their specific area of influence, however big or small it may be.
…power has always tended to corrupt, especially when it’s used for purposes that someone believes to be “noble”.
DO The Ends Justify the Means?
The process usually starts with a bending of the rules or an exercising of powers not expressly allowed, and is then justified by an “overwhelming need”:
- The country must be protected from enemies, so we must suspend certain individual rights.
- Some people are not as successful as others, so we must step in and provide government assistance (even when private assistance is more than enough).
- People deserve good places to live, so we must lower lending standards to people who can’t afford houses.
However, even instances which are often done with good intentions at first, almost always have extremely negative consequences that take away liberty and replace it with soft tyranny. Consider public housing, or Food Stamps, or any other “assistance” which purports to help yet ends up robbing people of their work ethic, pride and initiative to overcome their current situation.
A Politician worth Admiring
I’d like to contrast all of that with the most recent politician I’ve admired: Jerry Washburn. He was the mayor of the city in which I currently reside: Orem, Utah. He died in 2011 while serving his third term in office. Even after he was diagnosed with cancer, he continued to serve as mayor.
From what I’ve read and learned about him, he was a good, decent man who didn’t lust after power, but he just wanted to do his duty and make his hometown a better place. Having lived in Orem most of his life, Washburn saw many transformations in his 67 years. Mayor Washburn was known for having sacrificed his time to meet the demands of his part-time public office, while still being good to his family. He did what all politicians SAY they will do: he worked hard and honestly, in order to be worthy of the power vested in him by his fellow citizens.
The Indispensable Man
This is not intended as a hagiography. After all, it’s doubtful that all of Mr. Washburn’s policy decisions were flawless, as would be the case with any politician.
Even the noblest politician in our nation’s history, George Washington, made plenty of controversial decisions in his day. As a result, some people actually vilified him, and he was not universally loved by the time he left office.
But it can certainly be argued that Washington was the only man who could have gotten this country started.
He was that rarest of men throughout history: the indispensable man. The fact that he refused to be king, but only desired a quiet life free from public scrutiny, made him the perfect candidate for office. Without deep ambition and desire for power, he was free to make policy decisions that set the new nation on a course of limited government, liberty, and freedom that persisted for many years and is still found in this country in many ways today, despite all odds.
Our Representatives Reflect Who We Are
Hopefully we don’t have to look back to the Founding Fathers to find someone in government whom we admire. And so we should look for great men and women who would be excellent politicians, and encourage them to run for office. A good place to begin is with yourself: are YOU one of those people who could make a positive impact and help reverse the destructive trends of big government we’ve been seeing for so long?
If you are, your country needs you. Desperately.
Our elected officials are a reflection of what we value. Good people, with good character and a good, solid core…stand a much better chance at establishing good public policies. If, however, we elect people based on their promises, but we fail to acknowledge their moral shortcomings, we are setting ourselves up for failure and worse.
So I’ll ask again: who was the last politician you admired, and what are you doing to get more people like them in office?
***Robert Lockard has been a lover of writing from a young age. He especially enjoys writing about movies, and can be found over at his movie-review website: ‘The Deja Reviewer’.
Robert lives in Utah with his wife and three children. He enjoys running, biking, reading, and watching movies with his family.
I have one who currently serves me, Matt Salmon, who is my US Congressman in CD 6 here in AZ. While not perfect (who is of course?), but he has morale principles, along with firm belief in the Constitution.
He’s an asset to the congress, and we need more like him for sure.
If you have a good local pol, Blaine, you’re ahead of the curve.
And yes, we definitely need more…..
I am glad to hear it. I’m a fan of what my representative, Jason Chaffetz, is saying and doing to try to wake people up to the destructiveness of too much government. I hope people will listen to him. It’s scary how unpopular Congress is when these are the people we directly elect.
I have one in Congress now in Tom Cotton! So far he hasn’t disappointed and it seems that he plans to run for the Senate. I will support him as long as he continues to hold the principles he now has. God bless!
I like your caveat, “as long as he continues to hold the principles he now has.” We can never be lulled into a false sense of security after electing good people. We need to hold them to their word and keep them on the right path because there are plenty of opportunities to go astray.
I have one – Nikki Haley Governor of South Carolina. She’s the real deal.
Agreed, Art, Nikki seems to be a good egg, although (not living in her state) I haven’t followed her on Obamacare.
Did that nullification bill from May ever make it through the State Senate?
If so, did she sign it?
Awesome! It’s so good to see governors standing up to President Obama and trying to do things that actually work for their constituents. States are where the true greatness of our country lies. The federal government should really just be the guarantor of states’ rights.
Nice post, Robert!
Wish I had a local politician I could point to, but off the top of my head…. I’ve got nada.
Thank you. It’s surprisingly tough to think of politicians who are worthy of admiration. That’s a pretty sad commentary on the state of the union.
Barry Goldwater comes to mind. It was he or Johnson. The country chose the latter, and that made all the difference.
It’s so ironic that Goldwater was cast as a racist because he voted against the Civil Rights Act for reasons that had nothing to do with racism, but with his concerns about its impact on states’ rights. Meanwhile Lyndon Johnson, a man who fought against the Civil Rights Movement for years, was hailed as a champion of African Americans when he made a completely politically motivated flip-flop. The fact that so many people were deceived has definitely made a huge difference in our country ever since.
Most politicians aren’t worth the powder to blow them to hell. Some start off with good intentions but are soon robbing and pillaging like all the rest!
It’s so sad. The Constitution was crafted in a way to check the government’s power so no one could amass too much to threaten Americans’ liberty. Unfortunately, politicians keep ignoring Constitutional restraints, and the Supreme Court lets them get away with it time and time again. We are on a very dangerous path right now, and it can only be rectified if people of good character will rise up and abide by the Constitution once again.
Here in Indiana, we used to point to Mark Souder. But we should have voted him out when he back-pedaled on term limits. Mr. Souder stayed in Washington too long. His demise was not only sad for his family, and embarrassing for his supporters, it has made many of us that much more cynical and unable to trust that there is ANYONE out there worth voting for. Thanks for this thoughtful post, Robert! Very glad to have you here!
I can’t help quoting a movie: “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” It is true in a Batman movie as well as in politics. Even people who start out with bright ideals can fall prey to their own personal foibles. Thank you for sharing that reminder of the need for constant vigilance.
Excellent post, Robert!
It really does make you think “could I do a better job? Would my beliefs in what is right get skewed to please or stay in office?“….
I think the best thing we can do is pray our officials hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and act accordingly.
Wow, you put it so well. Thank you. All of us are put to the test at certain times of our lives where we have to find out what we really believe and who we really are. I hope all of us would pass a test like being granted a small amount of power and not abusing it. But it’s not easy to say for sure until it actually happens. Thank goodness so many people in this country over the years have resisted the urge to be power hungry. I pray we’ll find more people like that for high offices soon.
Political power seems to fit that old saying: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We’ve seen far too many politicians enter the arena with solid principle and foundational beliefs, only to mutate into a mere shadow of their former selves. That’s why it’s up to US, as citizens, to keep their actions in the spotlight of truth and hold them accountable.
Awesome post, Sir!