Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been tried from time to time. ~Winston Churchill
If you are like me you have sat back over the last couple years and shook your head at our government leaders and bemoaned the current state of affairs we find ourselves in. Regardless of what side of the political aisle one sits on there tends to be no shortage of fodder for the rallying cry that the sky is falling and it is the other guys fault.
We are all guilty of this and with good reason. We see the corruption, the cronyism, the deception, the political posturing, the lack of ethics and the junior high behavior of our elected officials and immediately begin to blame them for their leadership style or lack thereof. Maybe it is time “We the People” take a step back and examine our role in this Shakespearian political tragedy playing out before our eyes.
Let’s not forget that this is our Country, our Democracy, our vote and yes these are our leaders. We put them there. We voted for them and we continue to put them in office even when we complain that they are not representing us. But we are also guilty of something else.
We are hypocrites. All of us who take part in this Democracy are hypocritical when we point out our elected leaders short comings (for they are merely a reflection of us, a snapshot of society). We want them to compromise but we ostracize them from our political parties when they cross the center aisle. We want them to be humble and polite, yet vote for the other guy or gal who knocks out their opponent with mud- slinging and negative campaigning. We wring our hands in protest when they don’t come up with a plan and yet we rip apart the solution they come up with without attempting to compromise or collaborate on a viable alternative.
I am not giving our local, county, state or federal politicians a free pass. It is our duty to bring what is done in darkness to the light and to demand better of those who are in or seek higher office. I think we can all agree that they need to step up to the plate and lead instead of follow, however we can’t expect them to be any better as a collective group than what we are as individuals.
If we want to see more compromise and collaboration in our government than we need to do it in our personal lives, in our communities, in our churches and in our schools. If we want to see more responsible behavior and less child-like responses than we need to practice what we preach and be as accountable in our personal and professional lives as we desire our leaders to be. If we as citizens want ethics to rule our legislative body than we must start with our own selves. That means no cheating, lying, manipulating, back-stabbing, conspiring or mean-spirited actions of our own.
I point the finger at myself as I write this letter. Perhaps the problem is not just with who we elect to office or the policies they make. Perhaps the problem is with a society that expects those individuals to be better than what we are willing to be ourselves.
Yes, “We the People”, have the power to vote leaders in and out of office. We have the power of the ballot box. We can use the power of our voice, the power of protest and the power of the pen. But, perhaps our most potent weapon of change and the most underutilized is the ability to look in the mirror and become the change that we wish to see in our local, county, state and federal leaders.