Over the last several months we have been bombarded with countless media ads and mailboxes stuffed with flyers extolling the virtues and the vices of various candidates. It is an unfortunate byproduct of the political season and what has become a “blood sport” of sorts instead of an interview for a job.
The seats these individuals are looking to fill belong to us, the voters. It really irks me when some refer to those seats as belonging to particular politicians. “Tom Smith is looking to fill Joe Blow’s seat in Congress.” No, it’s the District 5 or the District 12 House of Representative Seat. That seat doesn’t belong to any individual, it is on loan to them from their bosses, the voters of that district, regardless of the number of years someone has held it.
Our founding fathers never saw service to one’s nation or community as a permanent profession. They feared that would lead to our own form of aristocracy, therefore creating a ruling class within society, something they fled when they left England.
George Washington, our first president, was careful in how he approached that position and the responsibilities that were thrust upon him. He wisely led the nation, while keeping in mind the need to do so with integrity and strength. All the time while providing a sense of national purpose and setting a number of important precedents for future holders of that office.
The founding fathers of our nation kept those memories of the divisiveness which would cause a civil war within England during the 17th Century close at hand, as they laid out the foundations for their new form of government. They viewed these factions (parties) as a throwback to the corrupt nature of the monarchy which they fled.
Citizen legislators were seen as the preferred way forward. During this time much of the economy of the fledgling nation was agriculturally based, they envisioned citizens giving of themselves for short periods of time and then returning home. A far cry from the system we have today which sees individuals staying for multiple decades at a time, receiving significant compensation and benefits for that service.
We have certainly come quite a distance from those early days since the formation of our Republic. Our founders saw the wisdom of a form of government that was ruled by the law and not by tyranny or a monarchy. The true power, however, would be ultimately left with the people.
It truly is up to us to demand better by those whom we elect. It is why we must require adjustments within our system to ensure that the vision of those that came before us will be continued and improved upon. That we ensure that those seats, whether they be on the local, state or federal level are strongly revered by our citizens and not simply acquired by those with the deepest pockets.
The process of our elections has to be protected and held to the highest standard. Take the time to educate yourselves as to the qualities of the man or woman seeking these offices. Don’t fall for the slick Madison Avenue style of campaigning which we are seeing today. Instead, look to the individual and see what she or he has accomplished in their lifetime. Merely staying in one position for 20 to 25 years is not indicative of leadership.
Leadership is about accomplishments and not pats of the back because you were part of a system that rewards being in lockstep adherence. It is about creativity and having the courage to make decisions that will lift up the spirits and provide the necessary guidance to bring us all over the finish line, not just a few.
We live in challenging times, that if given the appropriate motivation and guidance can bring us to the next plateau of greatness for this wonderful nation. We won’t find that in those glossy ads stuffed in our mailboxes and overflowing onto the ground. We can only find it within the minds and hearts of those we put our faith in during these elections.
They have to earn it from us, not by buying it with mailings, media ads and slick commercials. Instead, they will have had to earn it from what they’ve done within our communities. The dedication they have shown to lifting up those in need of a helping hand or through the hard work at solving challenges within our communities, not just by slick presentations, but by results, not fabrications.
Our founding fathers are looking down upon us to ensure we carry on the legacy which they have provided to us through their sacrifices. They are watching to see if we have the wisdom to make a difference for the future that has yet to come but has been placed in our hands for the next generation.