Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Beginning

Last night one of my friends became a Councilperson in the town where I live.  There was a vacancy and she was appointed to complete the term.  I really wish her the best and know she will be a great asset to the board.  She is intelligent, has a real grasp on that the issues are in the town, and has proven that she is a person who can get things done. 
I was there, in her shoes a few years ago.  As a council member I represented a different portion of town, and the issues my constituents had are slightly different that the ones her district has.  But we are all living in the same town and there are certain issues that are universal. 
Not that I can see this ever happening to my friend, but it got me thinking about why a person would go into public service.  I wouldn’t exactly say that being a council member was fun, and there was certainly no money in it.  But it was very rewarding.  There were times when I was totally insane with things to do, but most of the time I enjoyed doing the job. 
The really fun part of it was the notoriety that came from being a public servant in a small town.  I can see that for some people, being famous even in a small town can really go to their head.  I know firsthand that sometimes you get a feeling that there is nothing that you can’t do, whether it’s right or wrong. 
Take for example a councilmember who served with me who ended up being arrested for insurance fraud and tax evasion.  I mean being a council member is not like being the president, but this person felt he was so above the law because of his position that he wouldn’t get caught.  He engaged in so many bad things and would vehemently deny all of it when confronted puffing up his chest as if to say, “I am a council person, how dare you accuse me of such actions!”
Corruption happens, and it happens so often that there are many websites that talk about the corrupt and dangerous political leaders.  One such site talks about the top 10 corrupt politicians in America.  On the site, they mention they could have done 100, but they picked just 10.  That’s saying something right there.  
That all being said, there are plenty of excellent public servants, on every level who are excellent at what they do and work very hard to improve their districts.  Just as easily as you can find websites devoted to spelling out all the bad things politicians do, there are a few that laud the great ones; Churchill, Sir Winston, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Kennedy, John F. JFK just to name a few.  Those are the ones we hear about often.  It behooves us to study them and identify the attitudes, behaviors, careers, decisions, and effect of leaders who have changed the world.  These are the kinds of public servants who haven’t let the notoriety go to their head. I know my friend will be one of those excellent public servants.

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