Sadly, American politics carries mostly negative associations these days, and “politician” ranks with used car salesmen as amongst the least trustworthy of professions. It wasn’t always this way. A political career was once a noble calling, and amongst the most virtuous was attracted to public service where they could alleviate suffering and enhance the quality of life for their fellow citizens.

Bismarck correctly described politics as “the art of the possible,” and for those few who were graced with the legislative skills and the virtues of patience, wisdom and vision politics was never “a public chore to be got over with, but … a way of life” (Plutarch) that could accomplish great things.

Politics, of course, has also attracted amongst the least virtuous of citizens motivated by the accumulation of power, privilege and wealth. Though there are many good, honest and decent people serving in office on the local, state and national levels, unless they are already in office those without vast personal wealth and/or moneyed connections will never be able to compete nor serve.

The Republican field for President is, as I see it, utterly bereft of the quality of men and women this country needs except, perhaps, the former Governor of Utah. Thankfully, we have a good man currently sitting in the White House, but the threat to his effectiveness is substantial not only because of the obstructionist nature of his opposition but of the corrosive nature of the system itself. What is required of the President and of those good people who serve (Republican and Democrat alike) will test their character to the very core. I wish them well and Godspeed.

 

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