Ask a small child what she or he wants to be when they grow up and you’re likely to hear fireman, policeman, doctor, nurse, teacher or maybe even a lawyer. What I find interesting is that these noble choices are all professions intended to serve others.
I don’t know that I have ever heard a child say, “When I grow up, I want to be a politician.” If I did, I would probably have serious doubts about the kid. Why is that? In actuality, the role of a politician should be to serve others. In reality, all too often the opposite occurs.
It has been my experience that there are three basic types of people that run for political office. The first group is made up of those who truly want to improve their community. Their motivations are pure and selfless and their goals are fueled by genuine concern for their fellow man. These are people that see wrongs that need righting and feel compelled to act upon their convictions.
The second group is made up of those people whose desire is to feel significant. They have inflated egos and seek political power to advance their public image rather than the public good. Their decisions are based on maintaining or improving their hold on office and their beliefs are directed by political winds rather than moral conviction. You will find these politicians at every social event and when they speak they sound as if they always agree with you. By attempting to be all things to all people, they are in reality indifferent to each and every one of us. They will never comprehend that a "No" spoken from genuine conviction is far superior to a "Yes" merely uttered to please.
The third group is made up of people whose goal is to serve selfish interests. They seek political power for their own financial gain or that of the groups they represent. Seldom do their decisions benefit society as a whole as their intentions are to relentlessly manipulate the system to facilitate greed. Their entrance into the political arena is generally achieved through well funded, flagrant deception of the voters and they are easily identified by the lobbyists and special interest groups in attendance at their fundraisers. Their ability to achieve and maintain political office is directly related to their ability to avoid ethical accountability.
The first challenge to getting good government is the ability to discern group 1 politicians from groups 2 and 3. There isn’t much difference between the egotist politician (group 2) and the special interest politician (group 3) with respect to the damage they cause democracy.
The second challenge to getting good government is motivating citizens to follow through and support group 1 candidates. “Politician” doesn’t have to be a dirty word, but it’s up to the voters to change that. This election, carefully evaluate the motives and character of the candidates so you can cast your vote wisely. Choose a politician whose desire is to serve the community and if you get the chance, help level the playing field by supporting your honest candidate with a small donation.
It is important for every citizen in Queen Anne’s County to care for their community and cast well educated votes in the upcoming election. There are kind, caring, capable and deserving people running for office. But there are also deceitful, greedy and unethical candidates who will do significant damage to our quality of life if allowed to gain office. Bad politicians are elected by good citizens who do not vote.
Sveinn C. Storm