Politicians – The Critic Doesn’t Count

I have no ambition to govern men.  It is a painful and thankless office. ~~ Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, December 28, 1796

Being a politician is tough.  No doubt about it.  It’s a thankless job steeped in cynicism, distrust, even vile hatred and personal attacks from the very people they’re trying to represent.  I have little regard for cynics, never have, never will!

The politician’s job requires them to be ever visible, and accountable to not only a belligerent and fickle constituency, but to a hostile and often biased press.  That makes a politician a very easy target.  I can’t imagine being one.  It’s far too high a price to pay to be under such constant scrutiny, on an unlevel playing field and unable to please everyone.  The majority of us would never allow such close inspection.  Frankly, most of us couldn’t stand the heat.  Better it is to complain, point the finger.  Nevertheless the question should be asked;  If not us, then who?

Politicians find themselves compared with the dog kickers and child molesters of society.  The lowest of the low, corrupt to the core.  It’s cool to hate politicians.

Even Kids Hate Politicians

According to a recent Gallup poll our U.S. Congress has an approval rating of a pitiful 10-percent, equaling an all-time low set earlier in the year.  Many among us won’t even vote or take part in the political process.  It doesn’t matter, they say, who’s in charge, the different parties are all the same, there is no difference.  Now that’s cynicism!

No doubt, we’ve all seen in politics our share of bottom feeders and those who have fallen in disgrace through scandal and corruption.   Some criticism is deserved.   But not all politicians are crooked or self-absorbed in acquiring power and financial gain.  To the contrary, most politicians do want to serve their nation, communities and the public good.  I’ve met many of them over the years; congressman, senators, governors, even a president.  I have good friends that are politicians today; mayors, city councilmen, school board members, and state representatives.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with a few from time-to-time.  My experience is that all, with very few exceptions — and despite party affiliation — are hard-working, decent and conscientious people.  You simply can’t lump all of them into a single generality or belittle the entire group.  I believe that most deserve more consideration, more civility, more respect.

Unfortunately, and especially at the highest levels, to win elected office today, the field of battle, in the game of politics, is in the slime and muck.  Mud-slinging, and throwing it back, has always been a regular feature of politics.  It’s a bitter, nasty fight between fierce competitors and varied ideologies to have any chance to make a difference.  And it’s gotten worse over the years.  Certainly being a politician is not a profession for the weak or faint of heart.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes:

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; Who spends himself in a worthy cause; Who knows the great enthusiasms and great devotion; Who knows the triumph of high achievement; And if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly; So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. ~~ Teddy Roosevelt, Citizenship in a Republic, April 23, 1910.

Yep, politics is a dirty business, but someone’s gotta do it!  Have you hugged a politician today?

Your comments are always welcomed and encouraged.

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5 comments on “Politicians – The Critic Doesn’t Count

  1. oldereyes says:

    I wrote a post shortly after you posted this one titled Sometimes Stupid. My point was that we (or the media) are so critical that politicians are afraid to say anything, so we never get to hear what they really think, which makes it hard to vote. But I agree … to often cynical people question the motives or even the patriotism of politicians, instead of just disagreeing with their opinions.

  2. Way too many of them do NOT represent the views of their constituents and have been “bought” by special interests.

    The other thing that disturbs me is the idea of it becoming a “life long” job. It is too bad the founding fathers did not think of that possibility and write in Term Limits. 😦
    …Lew Hartswick…

    • Rick Gleason says:

      Thank for your comment Lew.

      I would only respond by saying representing one’s constituents is a bit difficult when they’re all over the map in their various opinions and philosophies on a myriad of political issues. It’s simply an impossibility to represent everyone’s interests. As I wrote, you can’t please everybody.

      Term limits? What’s good for the president should be good for anyone else, but I’d go for more than eight years where Senators and Congressmen are concerned. There are some good suggestions out there.

      Thanks again!

  3. Ron Susek says:

    The Puritans attempted to restrain the worst in human nature. Roger Williams, in the early New England colonies, fought for freedom of conscience and greatly influenced our constitution. What we did not recognize was that the concepts of freedom in our constitution puts us at the other end of the spectrum; i.e. dealing with the consequences of unrestrained behavior. This is a tight rope that will only be successfully walked when the King of kings is reigning on earth, and that day is coming.

    In the mean time, political leaders laboring in a society that has rejected divine absolutes will pay heavy prices. And when a colleague fails the stakes are all the higher. May God send us worthy leaders and protect them from on high.

    Keep going, Rick. Your right on.

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