Back to the Basics
Despite what some may think, my mission has not been to burn down the Republican Party. In fact, it is quite the opposite. There are very few absolutes in this world, and not every Republican official or candidate has absolute good intentions and motivations.
Politics is all about asserting power over others, so naturally, those who lust for power are drawn into the political arena.
To shed light on what an ideal Republican candidate should look like, I needed to share some of ugly truths first. But we, as a party, now have the opportunity to take a good, hard look in the mirror and make adjustments for upcoming elections.
And you know where fixing ourselves begins? Going back to the basics – what characteristics and qualities do we want in our candidates and elected officials? It’s one thing to vote the right way on political issues, but it’s another to act in accordance to basic principles that we say guide us and make us who we are.
Many Republicans stand firm in certain public policy positions. It is a party of economic freedom, smaller government, personal and fiscal responsibility, and the rule of law. A vast majority of our Republican politicians uphold and affirm these beliefs, but this isn’t good enough.
It all boils down to the basic “type” you want in office representing you – politician or statesman?
A politician wishes to advance his or her own agenda. Politicians are the types who were never able to logically persuade others to see their point of view, so instead, must assert authority over those who think differently. They will do, or say, anything to maintain control of this power. To politicians, power is a form of self-validation.
A statesman views his or her self as a public servant, doing the bidding for constituents. Touting off their credentials and bragging about the swanky parties they throw, or have attended, are not what defines them.
In fact, the statesman does not need to gloat and brag, taking too much or undue credit. The statesman does not need awards, loud applause or other fame and fortunes. In truth, the statesman understands respect is not given, but rather earned.
The statesman realizes, in the end, actions speak louder than words. It’s not good enough to just talk the talk, you must also walk the walk. To a statesman, personal conviction is greater than gaining political favors, receiving additional money in the campaign account, or other kickbacks. A statesman earns your vote whereas the politician buys it.
Look back at our Founding Fathers. Their personal convictions were so strong and unwavering that they literally risked their lives for their principles. We shouldn’t expect my representatives to stake their lives for us. However, we do expect that they won’t sell us to the highest bidder, happily throwing their moral and ethical compass out the window.
So then, how can we be sure to steer clear of putting politicians in charge?
Here is a short, three-facet laundry list of what Republicans, as a party, should seek in its elected officials and candidates.
Politicians decide where they stand on certain issues like a deer hunter decides which tree stand from which to hunt that morning. Politicians stick their finger in their mouth, hold it up in the air and decide what position is “down wind” from the political issue. Tomorrow, a lobbyist, special interest group, or donor could waltz into their office and the wind direction suddenly changes.
Perhaps this is why trust in government is at an all-time low because trust is built upon consistency.
A statesman takes personal responsibility and holds him or herself accountable for their actions. A politician will consistently point blame at others. Or, politicians will hold others accountable to certain rules, but feel the same rules don’t apply to them. The politician’s mindset reflects the mentality of “do as I say, not as I do.”
No one is perfect, no matter how badly politicians wish to be perceived as such. We all make mistakes, and the statesman understands his or her own flaws. Instead of hiding these flaws, the statesman reveals his or her shortcomings and strives to become a better person in spite of them.
With all kinds of stakeholders involved in the political process, it’s easy for a politician to lose focus on whom they ultimately serve and answer to at the end of the day. Politicians are like the teenage guys your mother warned you about in high school. They will happily whisper sweet nothings into your ear for one sole purpose and have absolutely no remorse for it.
Statesmen are the same behind closed doors as they are with cameras and microphones shoved in their faces. What they say in private, closed sessions is no different than what they say on the public record. Statesman have nothing to hide.
Moving forward, here’s a challenge for you. Focus on our elected officials and candidates as we near next year’s elections. See for yourself the stark difference between the examples of politicians and statesmen.
The Republican Party will be better positioned if it choose to elect less politicians and more statesmen.