Monday, February 23, 2009

What are Polticians Made Of?

No, not sugar and spice or puppy dog tails--

Returned about an hour ago from the Jackson County annual Lincoln Day celebration and there were three main types of attendees. There were the usual party stalwarts who carry the water for the Republican Party and candidates 24/7. There were a good number of office holders and would-be office holders. And there were any number of people who had never attended an event like this before.

It was very rewarding and uplifting to see that people who care about the conservative Republican philosophy have not just curled into a ball and are licking their wounds. But the most exciting thing was the large group of candidates. It made me return to thinking about what it really takes to be a good politician/public servant.

From about 1955 to 1975 I met a number of politicians through working on issues with the League of Women Voters, but as time went by and the LWV coalesced with other women's groups whose main interest seemed to be abortion rights, I could see that the fit was no longer apt. Board members of LWV are not "allowed" to be partisan so it was an easy decision to resign and turn my efforts to the Republican party within whose platform I found much of my own worldview.

In the process I have met over the last 30+ years many, many politicians and have seen up close and personal what it really takes to start on that kind of career. So many folks who don't know these people personally seem to think that they are all crooks, not a dime's worth of difference between the parties, they all enjoy the perks and parties, etc., etc. Not true. These men and women make sacrifices of their time and talent, not to mention money, plus their family activities and just plain recreation that the rest of us take for granted.

Think about the endless hours of going door to door campaigning; the panel discussions and interviews for the media; the parades and public appearances demanded of them (particularly on weekends when we'd all rather be sailing or watching a kids' ballgame or going out to dinner with the family or wife or husband); depending on the age--helping to care for aging parents; having to have a listed telephone number so that they are available to their constituents. All that on TOP of actually doing the job of legislating with early morning and late evening meetings.

In my lifetime I have never known an office holder who was not honest and hard working and I say "For Shame!" on those who make the headlines which make all their contemporaries look bad. I say "For Shame!" on those who cut corners on reporting campaign donors who help them in ways against the law. I say "For Shame!" on those who parse their words so carefully that they can get away with the equivalent of "what the definition of is is" when they make public statements out of both sides of their mouths. As my Navajo grandson says "Grandma, he speaks with forked tongue."

So think twice when speaking of or voting for each and every candidate. Do not let them influence you without facts to back up their promises. And go for the guy who talks plain.

God bless.........

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