Thursday, August 18, 2005

My ideal Candidate for Public Office

Cincinnatus.

Okay, most people don't even remember who he was, plus, he's dead, which is probably a disqualifier, and he was Roman, which is a definite disqualifier, since he doesn't live in the district.
In case you forgot, Cinncinatus was the man called from his plow to lead Rome with autocratic powers until the danger had passed. Afterwards, he returned power to the Senate, and went home to his plow.
Thomas Jefferson once said that "any man who would seek public office is not worthy of it." This from a guy who really wanted to be President, and eventually did become only the third one in our history.
Today, politicians seem to feel the need to work their way up through the ranks. First a school board, then a city councilman, then a state representative, then statewide office followed by national service as either a congressman or a senator.
The first person asked "What are your qualifications?" who can answer, "I am above the minimum age, I reside in the legislative district that I am running from, and I have no legal restrictions that would keep me from serving," has got my vote.
For some reason, we always assume that only people who have worked their way through the system are eligible to serve. Why do we not select those people that have succeeded in life, either professionally, or personally, who assume the duty of serving their fellow citizens, and would gladly go back to their own lives after their service is over?
I know that the argument for a professional class of politicians is that they have knowledge in how to make the system work. However, it has always been my experience that I have gotten more done when I did not know that I couldn't do something. Reminds me of when I was 12 and in the Boy Scouts. Up to that time, I could easily draw two cards to fill an inside straight. It was only after I read a book on the statistical improbablility of that happening, that I was never able to do it again.
Every political entity has a staff that has been in residence for quite a while. They can assist the politician, but they are hindered in their approach to new and creative ideas.
A profesional politician is suspect in my mind, because their own election or reelection becomes more important than the service to their fellow citizens. I would like to support a politician who if elected could say, "Okay, but just for a little while." Or, if they lost, could say "thank God, now I can go back to my life."
I always wanted to run for governor on the platform that if I was elected, I would not go anywhere near Helena. Unfortunately, it is the law that the Governor has to reside in Helena. Helena. Have you ever been there? Why on earth would anyone voluntarily live there? Okay, maybe if you had a pre-release center, the convicts wouldn't have a choice, but to voluntarily want to go there? Right off the bat, you are suspect in your sanity, in my mind anyway.
Washington is even worse. If you ever spent anytime in the DC area, you understand why Congress takes August off. The crowds, the lack of open space, and the egomaniacs who reside there do not make it any kind of place that I would want to live in.
When I was in the Army, you could always tell the General Staff bastards that came from the Pentagon. They had an attitude that just reeked of condecension, even though we were on the front lines, and they were safely ensconced in their protective cocoons of self importance.
I saw it in the politicians that were sent to Washington as well. There were so many toadies who were only too willing to bow and scrape before someone because they had Congressman or Senator in front of their father's name. The worst thing was that the politicians seemed to assume that it was their inherent right to have these toadies. Someone who has already succeeded in life is less lilely to think that they are more than they know that they are.
So, let's hear it for the common man or woman, who would serve if necessary, but has already had a full life, and doesn't need the headache if they aren't selected.

1 comment:

Wulfgar said...

As someone who does know who Cincinnatus was, I gotta say: Good call.