Published in the September-October 2014 issue of MyLIFE magazine
As we approach this year’s midterm elections, I am reminded of the statement made by legendary author Tom Clancy: “Why does Washington so rarely do smart things? Because we elect idiots.”
It also seems that we never learn from the past, and after each election we sit back and complain for another two or four years when (should we be surprised?) these politicians continue to engage in corruption and misuse their public office. Maybe Tom Clancy should have said, “Because idiots continue to elect idiots!”
Today, Congress’ approval rating is about 15 percent, and at many state levels leadership approval ratings are no better. What’s amazing is the sheer apathy that most Americans display when it comes to electing individuals who do nothing. As history will demonstrate, it seems to be the American people’s desire to re-elect these ineffective officials—even those who have destroyed voters’ trust with their unethical activities—to extended terms.
We don’t condone such activities in the private sector, so why do we put up with this kind of behavior in the political arena? Any corporate president or CEO who committed fraud, accepted bribes, kickbacks, free trips or other gifts or otherwise abused the power of his or her position for personal gain would be swiftly terminated. So, the $64,000 question is: Why are such actions in the political arena not dealt with in the same manner as they are in the private sector?
It’s a common practice for politicians to initiate legislation that insulates them from prosecution on many fronts. But the culture of politics is also part of the problem—the good old boys’ network promotes the understanding that holding a colleague accountable for unscrupulous behavior may very well place one’s own position at risk. Why, you might ask? Because sooner or later the spotlight might pivot, and then the one pointing the finger is scrutinized. Politicians play the game by their own rules, and they continue to win at our expense.
With all the backstabbing, mud slinging and other smear tactics (not to mention the outright character assassinations) that goes on among those running for public office, it’s difficult to tell a good guy (if there is one) from a bad one. As voters, it’s our responsibility to elect leaders who will tackle the tough issues we face as a country and do what is necessary to achieve positive results, not only for our own good, but also to improve our country’s standing in the eyes of other nations.
The midterm elections are rapidly approaching, and each of you has the ability to effect change. Evaluate the character of those who are running for office. Sift through all of the promises, most of which are unlikely to be honored. Vote for the candidates whom you feel (now don’t laugh) will “serve the people” and not just themselves. Choose the candidates who care about the economy, and toss voting for the party line—because that’s clearly not working.
In closing, I caution you not to fall for the immigration promises. Once again, that’s merely a hot button candidates use to get voters all riled up. Politicians have been promising immigration reform for more than 50 years, so how many of them really care? If they did, don’t you think immigration reform would have been completed long before now?
Pick a candidate who displays the fortitude to address the key issues—putting people back to work, improving education and the nation’s infrastructure, bringing manufacturing jobs back home to the United States. Elect a candidate whose first priority is the economy of our state and our country. The rest will then fall into place with time. Apathy be gone! Enough is enough!