Leadership in Public Service
One of my pre-campaign advisers suggested that I agree with everyone about everything to win the popular vote by being popular. If a person asks what I think about something controversial, I can answer with a question. “That is an important question. I am glad you brought it up. What do YOU think, sir?” Then, depending on the response, I could simply agree. “When in Rome….” Or Boulder.
Obviously, much of what I write is “tongue in cheek,” including my pre-campaign strategizing. Today I want to bring up something more serious.
I admire many people who serve those of us in the general public by running for office, which is difficult for many reasons, and serving the public trust by wrestling with the issues of the day and actually providing leadership, including proclaiming values based on deeply held religious beliefs.
John F. Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage before he was President. It is about risking unpopularity by choices made while in office.
Rebecca Hamilton is an Oklahoma legislator who has written about political pressures.
We have a representative form of government which requires people whom we elect to spend time using their judgement on all sorts of issues that affect the rest of us. Government budgets are necessary but boring. It requires absorbing information and making decisions. Most of us in the general public do not want to spend the time studying the issues. We let our elected officials worry about that stuff. We also let them take the heat after the fact. We can criticize them with hindsight similar to that of Monday Morning Quarterbacks. If you think that you can do a better job than Peyton Manning, show your stuff. If you think you can do a better job than the elected legislators or governors, run for office.
Today I thank those who serve our government in many ways that I do not.
I admire those who lead rather than merely try to please.