Sunday, February 26, 2017

Where have the real politicians gone?

Since grade school, we have been taught how ordinary people and the great thinkers of the Colonial Era came together and embarked on the Great American Experiment.  Our Founding Fathers, many whom would go on to become our first politicians, were radical visionaries.  Governors of the thirteen colonies, like Patrick Henry, were great orators who molded the Founding Fathers' vision and sold it to the people.  And the people, like Thomas Paine and Paul Revere, embraced the vision and fought to make the vision happen.

The history lessons we were taught showed us the patriotic and civic duties of every American citizen.  Those we elected to represent us were public servants.  Everything they were to do excluded the promotion of their own agenda.  They were to govern as to promote the principles defined in our Constitution and keep our Founding Fathers' vision alive and viable.

I'll admit; that's the romantic view of how our country is supposed to be.  It is doubtful the idealism we are taught is what was ever practiced.  But the idealism is taught for a good reason.  It set standards and ethics our elected officials should abide by and goals they should work to achieve.  

George Washington defined the role of our elected officials as public servants when he reluctantly accepted his appointment as the first president of the newly formed nation.  His reluctance born of self doubt underscored the enormity and importance of accepting a government role.  His refusal to be referred to as a king bold-faced and underscored the concept that a government position placed the government official in the role of public servant.  A president, or any government official, was to be a humble public servant who balanced what the people wanted with how the Constitution said the people were to get it.

Our politicians today have forgotten what our forefathers had envisioned.  As Election 2016 demonstrated, running for public office is a reality show put on for the amusement of the masses.  Those who put on the best show use the office they have won as a platform to push their agenda.  Election winners aired the highest rated reality show and they feel entitled to use the office they won as a prize any way they see fit.

"Wait a minute," you might say.  "They're still public servants, no?"

No, at least not in their eyes.  Whether elected to office, appointed, or hired, government employees, today, have long since forgotten they are public servants charged with the immense responsibility of giving the people what they want within the guidelines defined by the Constitution.  Many believe it's their duty to push their personal agendas.  We only need to look as far as Kentucky after the Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage for a text book example.  Kim Davis willingly went to jail in an effort to push her own religious agenda on the people of Kentucky, an agenda that excluded those other American citizens protected by the Constitution - gay citizens.

We have become a nation obsessed with self.  Promoted and encouraged by technology and social media, each one of us build a virtual monument to celebrate our individual greatness and importance.  We no longer rely on and respect those who have spent their lives studying and learning specific topics.  After fifteen minutes of Googling, we proclaim ourselves the experts regardless of what those who have dedicated their lives have to say.  We have made ourselves self-important and we have a virtual world stage to show everyone how great we are.  And that greatness is measured in the number of friends, like, and shares.

For most of us every day folks who will live and die relatively unnoticed in the big scheme of things, taking our place on the public stage technology and social media affords us is our chance to be somebody to be remembered.  Social media is like costume jewelry of the thirties and forties.  Back then, we could pretend to be rich and famous with our fake diamonds and rubies.  Today, we can pretend to be rich and famous with a few hundred - or lots more - followers, the synonym for fan in the Internet world.  We'll never be a movie star or a history making politician or activist or writer or business leader or....  We'll be hardworking Joes and Janes raising a family with an opportunity to pretend being something more for an hour or two a night instead of watching the rich and famous on television and wondering why we couldn't be in their shoes.

Here's the twist, though.  Back then, the rich and famous wore real diamonds and rubies.  Costume jewelry was only worn to protect the real thing from being lost or stolen.  Today, social media followers are as important, if not more important, than fans to the rich and famous.  How important?  We only need to look as far as Trump and family to see how important the self centered, in your face sharing is even to our statesmen and public servants who should be serving us.

Screw you all...oh, and
happy birthday son!

First up - Donald Trump

On New Year's Eve, trump made two tweets.  One wished his son a happy birthday (he doesn't talk to his son in real life, I reckon) and the other to wish his enemies (perceived or real, I reckon) a happy New Year. 

On New Year's Day, he wished America a happy new year in complete campaign style.  He's looking forward to 2017 as he suggests we help him make America great again.  I don't know about you, but when I wish someone a happy new year, it's a selfless wish.  I wish them the happy new year regardless of what the new year may bring me.  And I don't ask nor suggest to them to help me do something to make the new year great.

Summary: Trump campaigned and could care less whether you have a good year or not.

You can buy my line of baby
clothes at - to be announced.

Second up - Ivanka Trump

Ivanka makes no bones about it - the new year is all about her.  She announces that 2016 was the most exciting and eventful year of her life, then proceeds to share a collage mostly of her children babies' pictures.  Her message screams loudly, "Look at me and my beautiful children.  Don't you wish you were me?"

 Summary: It's all about my children.

Don't this neck look so ohh tasty?

Third up - Eric Trump

Aside from the fact that he looks like a character from a modern remake of Dark Shadows, his entire written message for a happy new year wish is all about him reinforced with a picture showing off his trophy wife. 

Any hint of a happy new year wish for the American people?

Nope.  It's all about him and his trophy wife.

Summary:  Suckers!

Yeah, I got one...where's yours?

Fourth up - Donald Trump, Jr

A simple, cold, stoic, "Happy new year everyone" as he shows off his trophy wife in, shall we say, less than embracing pose, a pose about as cold and stoic as his new year's wishes.

Summary: I have her and you don't so nah... nah nah.. nah nah!

Now, I could follow up with more proof of the selfish, self centeredness of our First Family with other tweets by Trump.  There was Trump's spotlight on himself in a Golf Digest article, his heartfelt thanks for his family's support because, you know, without their vote, he wouldn't have won, and who can forget his plea for his daughter, Ivanka, for us to support her through Nordstrom's horrible decision to discontinue her line of clothing?

Oddly, the silent one in the family is Melania, third wife to Trump. 

Quick.  Name Trump's first and second wife.

Time's up. 

Yeah, apparently the only important women in Trump's life is Ivanka, the woman he would date if she weren't his daughter. 

A parting thought as you close this article - just how much do you think Trump cares about you when all he talks about is himself and occasionally his daughter, Ivanka?  The proof is in his family.  Their New Year's wishes were all about them, their children or their trophy wives and that says a lot about the man who raised them.

And that should give you a hint of how much more distant our government - the government of the people, for the people, and by the people - will get in the next four years.

For your listening pleasure:

Posted by Five Drunk Rednecks

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