Friday, August 24, 2012

Where Are the Honorable Men?

Last week, I was having a discussion about the current President and his propensity to issue unconstitutional Executive Orders. One of the younger men in the group I was speaking with asked why nobody in Congress has bothered to call him out on his abuses of the law. One of the responses centered on how the men in Congress don’t really care much about the Constitution, only giving the Constitution lip service (see Preserve, Protect, Defend…Disregard). Another response was in regards to the fact that the men and women that get elected to Congress are only there to serve themselves and they are not there to serve their communities or their country.

The solution, the younger man came up with, was that we need to elect better people to these offices. My reply to him, which led to further discussion, was where are the honorable men? That is, where are those “better” people to replace those in power now?

Politics is no longer about serving the public good anymore. It is about power and money and nothing else.

Granted, there are people that get elected to office who start off with good intentions but in due course they get sucked into the corrupted system and their integrity and principle of character are gradually eroded away.

What happened to the people that became public servants not because they wanted to but because they were asked to by the people. There was a time when most of these men had absolutely no desire to run for and serve in public office but felt compelled to do so by their sense of duty and honor to their country and to their states. What happened to the days when service in public office was no different than military service in that it was only a temporary obligation?

In the days of Washington and Adams and Jefferson, being a Congressman or a Senator was a temporary position. These men had full time jobs at home. They were farmers, lawyers, college professors, merchants. They were men of respectable occupation who had little desire for politics.

Being a politician in todays’ society is a full-time job. Politicians today earn their living entirely off of their political career which includes not only the salary they receive for being an elected official but whatever monies they are receiving from special interest groups and whatever company (or companies) that they have invested their money into based off of shady deals and insider information.

Not only was it meant to be a temporary public service, they also were not entitled to a lifetime pension whether they were elected to another term or not as they are now. Today’s Senators and Representatives need only serve one term (and in the case of Representatives that is one term of 2 years) and they receive a pension and free health insurance for the rest of their lives.

On top of that, these elected officials often, after leaving their careers as public servants, move on to get highly lucrative careers as corporate lobbyists or receive nauseating amounts of money on the speech-giving circuit.

They are not motivated by public service. They are not motivated by doing what is best for their constituents and their country. They are motivated by power. They are motivated by their greed. They are motivated by their desire to remain in office, i.e. keep their jobs or their desire to move up in the company, that is, to seek higher elected office.

What happened to the days when elected officials were just regular people like you and me that did their time, so to speak, in Congress and then went back home and worked their real, more reputable careers?

Why is it that our elected officials are paid such an obscene amount more than our nation’s educators? School teachers are among the lowest paid professions in our country and yet they do some of the most important work that there is to be done by educated the future of our country. Educators are not motivated by money or power. They serve a higher calling and do their jobs out of love for the children and a true desire to educate.

Where are the men and women who will serve their country honorably and for a limited time and then return to their regular jobs and their families? Where are the men and women of this country who serve their country not for financial profit but for real desire to serve the public good? Where are the men and women of this country that will not bow down to a corrupt system just because that is simply how the game is played? Where are the men and women of this country with scruples that will bring a fresh perspective to politics and be true guardians of leadership?

In less than 90 days, this country will hold its 4 year ritual of allowing the people to think that they have some say in the way the things are run in this country by holding a general election. There is potential for a new President to be elected. Many states will be holding elections for U.S. Senate and all of them will be holding elections for U.S. House of Representatives.

But in the grand scheme of things, it matters very little who will be chosen to represent us if these men and women we elect have the same mindset of those already in power. It matters very little whether or not they believe important topics like the principles of limited government and liberty for all people if they are ultimately driven by the same motivating values as those that have been in control for decades. It matters very little if the people we elected are Republicans or Democrats or Independents or conservatives or liberals if their only true purpose for becoming an elected official is a desire to be in a position of authority.

What can We the People do to implement change and eliminate the catastrophe that is the corruption in politics and return the government to true leadership composed of honorable men? We must eliminate lifetime pensions. We must enact strict term limits on all elected officials. We must reform the processes of lobbying and the financing of public elections. Perhaps with these changes we can begin to rid our country of those motivated by greed and lust for power and open the playing field for those good and decent people.

We must remove these outlandish incentives to being an elected official and put people in office that are truly there because of the honor of serving your country as a public servant.

Only then can we can return this country to government of honorable men.

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