Thank God for Elections!
by Paul Hein
by Paul Hein
It's not that I expect my life to improve in any way following an election, but that the election marks the end of the campaigns. That, in itself, is more satisfying than the replacement of non-entity A with non-entity B.
Are the various candidates so foolish that they take their campaign rhetoric seriously, or do they simply regard us with such contempt as to give us nothing better than their predictable platitudes? I don't know, but since candidates for public office are always attuned to what "the people" want, I guess they have determined that their insipid slogans and fifteen-second sound bites are effective in influencing voters. Pathetic!
How often have we heard candidate X hailed as a great leader? Indeed, has there ever been a candidate who was not, or would not become, a great leader? Do they not all, each and every one, possess great leadership potential? This designation as "leader" is one which, I must confess, has been swallowed completely by the public. At church, during this campaign season, I've heard prayers offered that the voters will select a new crop of "leaders" who will possess appropriate ethical and moral values. At the various summit meetings, the reference is always to world "leaders." Leading where?
Doesn't the concept of leadership imply a goal, or destination? Surely a leader is not someone who merely takes us around in circles, or takes us nowhere! All of the political aspirants claim leadership qualities, but they never tell us where they are leading us, except, perhaps, in such general terms as to tell us nothing. "My daddy brought me up to respect the values of hard work and integrity, and if you elect me, you can be sure I will honor my daddy's memory, and work hard on your behalf." Ah, that pins it down!
No candidate has ever asked me where I want to go, so how can I accept his assurance of leadership? If he were to ask me, I'd assure him I want to go as far from him and his programs as possible, and I am sure he'd decline to lead me in that direction.
The proper term for politicians is not "leaders," but "rulers." People who tell us what we must do, and what we must not do, and how they will punish us if we disobey, are not leading us, they are ruling us. They are not pointing the way, and suggesting we follow it, but ordering us where to go, how fast, how far, and what it will cost us if we don't.
Should we be so naïve as to think of them as "leaders" because they are upright and righteous people, we deserve them. It's not hard to think of the countless scandals involving the moral turpitude of our politicians, both sexual and otherwise. The rulers are surely the very last people we would offer to our children as role models. They are, rather, people to look down to.
Candidates will often speak of taxation, to assure us they will keep it to a minimum. One local candidate has stated vehemently that she will NOT raise taxes. She apparently does not remember a similar promise from Bush 1st, and probably from a number of other office-seekers, and assumes we will take her seriously. But what is she actually promising? Clearly, she intends to put her hands in our pockets and take what she finds there, but she won't keep any more of it than the thief she hopes to replace. Hooray! What a stirring promise! Are we to be grateful to someone who assures us that he will take what is "ours," but only as much as he needs, and, hopefully, no more than we've lost in the past? What a great guy! Gimmie that ballot!
Finally, the candidate promises to faithfully represent us, his constituents. How can he do this, when anything he votes on which might concern us will also be voted upon by hundreds of other "representatives of the people" who do not, in any sense of the word, represent me? Our forefathers inveighed against taxation without representation, but it's hard to see how there can be any other kind. Does calling a bunch of strangers our "representatives" really make them so? If I want plan A and my neighbor prefers plan B, how can our common representative represent both of us?
Government is difficult enough to endure; the campaigns rub salt in to the wound. Thank God when the election is over, and the players in the Plunder the People game can shut up.
August 7, 2008
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