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Politicians, Honesty, and Power


The history of political thought dates back to antiquity. The political history of the world meanders up through the Medieval period and into the Renaissance. In the Age of Enlightenment, political entities expanded from simple systems of self-governance and monarchy to the complex democratic and communist entities that exist in today’s modern era.

Somewhere along the line in this growth of political history came the professional politician. I don’t know for certain if there was ever such thing as a totally honest politician, because the position itself requires collusion on almost a daily basis, but I do believe that, at one time in this country, there were men and women who held this nation in more esteem than their own egos, and loved their country more than position and power.

Men, or women, rarely start out naturally bad in any profession. Sometimes the world just wears down the honest person. But with politics it’s more like a matter of seduction of the ego and the intellect. The aura of power is so great it simply overwhelms a person. I don’t believe all bad politicians started out with the intention of being thieves and cohorts of deceit. They simply couldn’t control the “high” that comes with suddenly being so important. Like junkies, it all becomes a matter of reveling in the sense of power, and doing whatever it takes to keep you there. The best example I can offer is the 16 (yes, 16), Republicans running for president now. In a haze of ego and power, they have lost sight of what’s good for the country.

Along the same line, it’s amazing how many politicians are under indictment, or being investigated for things they claim absolutely no knowledge of. I often ask myself – how could these people be that stupid, that unaware of skullduggery, and hold office? The answer is, of course, they are neither that stupid, or unaware. They have succumbed to the sirens on the shores of deception and compromised their integrity for the promise of position.

Franklin D Roosevelt once said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” Today, it’s not so hard to see that, but it’s harder to prove it.

Little white lies are the ultimate villains in the loss of honesty – political and otherwise. They may well begin innocently enough, but they erode the bastion of integrity within each of us. With the majority of politicians, truth is rarely an objective to begin with. Power is the only god. Once they’ve tasted the forbidden fruit of power and position, nothing else matters. In the end, honesty, like most things, atrophies if not exercised.

In the upcoming GOP debate we will be given the opportunity to hear honesty and integrity mixed with the raw desire for power. The GOP debate should have been sponsored by the liberals of America. (Who knows? Maybe it was.) There is nothing the Democratic Party could do to better destroy GOP continuity than putting most of the Republican presidential hopefuls in one room and let them ravage each other.

None-the-less, it’s more important than ever that we exercise our right to vote. It’s truer today than ever before, that bad officials are the ones elected by citizens who didn’t vote.

The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the ownership and staff of The Polk County Pulse. Michael Reisig is a freelance writer and published author whose works are reproduced throughout the globe.

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