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
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 lives in Utah with his wife and three children. He enjoys running, biking, reading, and watching movies with his family.