It has been written (I have it on a T-shirt) that “This is the government the founders warned us about.” It is likely that the author of those words was referring to the federal government, but even a cursory look will reveal that the problems perceived have trickled down to more local levels.
As evidence, we only need to look across the river at Virginia. For the last four years, Virginia’s governor, aided by a supportive Legislature, conducted a campaign not much different than Barack Obama’s “transformative” flood of executive orders. Here in Maryland, we have a General Assembly which won’t be happy until the last Maryland Republican is gone from Congress.
It would be easy to simply blame the politicians, but the blame belongs closer to home. It is we the people who put the politicians in office and leave them there. We demand term limits and yet return the same people to office — some for decades. Look in the mirror and ask whose fault that is?
Politicians — and even their constituents — frequently tell us who and/or what they are. Seemingly, we refuse to listen. First to mind on that score is “Slick Willie” Clinton. The people of Arkansas warned us l with that nickname, well prior to his rise to the presidency. Too many didn’t listen.
Of course, today we’re compelled to suffer with Joseph Robinette Biden for another three years — hopefully. I say hopefully because the alternative is absolutely terrifying. The current first in the line of succession was hugely unpopular in her weak try for the presidency. Predictably, her appeal hasn’t improved. Many chose Biden due to problems with Donald Trump. I had problems with Trump, but like many others, I recognized Joe’s greater shortcomings. Come on, man.
In all his decades on the government dole, Joe had no significant accomplishments and had a poor reputation in foreign policy and national security. That was a given. What we are experiencing today was predicted. Robert Gates, an Obama secretary of defense, in a 2015 memoir warned of Biden’s shortcomings. Few listened.
Such ineptitude is not limited to federal service. It can be found all the way down to town councils. At a recent, local town council meeting, a councilman was dithering about his vote on a proposed ordinance before the council when he made an astounding declaration. He said that he didn’t ask to be put into the position of voting on a particular matter. Seriously?
He’s in his second term and had accepted the position of secretary and is now president of the council. He’s run twice to be a town councilman and he didn’t ask? That absurd comment needs to be remembered should he decide to run for a third term. I certainly won’t forget it.
County level elected personnel aren’t exempt from looking foolish in their decisions. One local official threw a temper tantrum when he, as a new electee, found that the county didn’t offer a computer with which he was familiar. Unwilling to learn the system, he insisted on being supplied with his preferred system. Isn’t he special? First impressions are lasting ones, eh? This individual also thinks it’s within his purview to interfere with police officers who are conducting potentially dangerous traffic stops. The personal judgement of this individual is truly deserving of questioning as he considers even higher office.
Enough examples, and back to the original theme.
We the people get the politicians that we deserve. We demand excellence, error-free judgement and performance, from doctors, police, waiters and cooks to name just a few. Why not demand the same from the people we pay to represent us — when, in fact, they more tend to represent themselves and/or their party. Why not demand excellence from politicians who, as we’ve seen of late, literally control our everyday lives?
Instead, we tolerate dalliance, non-transparency, various forms of lying, and questionable financial dealings among other questionable activities. So many cast their votes based upon popularity, looks, personality, party affiliation and fictitious claims. It’s our job and obligation to look deeper.
When politicians tell us who they are with questionable words or deeds and we don’t listen, we deserve what we get. When they alibi, “Well, everyone makes mistakes.” — demand excellence. If we don’t, we don’t deserve it.
Rick Blatchford writes from Mount Airy. Contact him at email@example.com.