America character

Politics: How To Be a Witness, Not a Winner

6:00:00 AMEvelyn Hildebrand

Let's do a quick word association.
Politics... Senators. Congressmen. Election. Campaign. Lies. Half-truths. Secrets. Policy. Change. Trust. National concerns. International debates. Prejudices. Issues. Solutions.

What is the purpose of a politician?

From where we're standing, in front of the podium instead of behind it, most political commentary aimed at educating/informing the public seems to be about who's winning, who's not, and who gets stuck in between. Go ahead and disagree with me, but it looks as though the foundations of our democratic-republic (whichever of the two we are, because the debate on that particular subject still hasn't died down) have become more than a little warped over the years.

Now, don't get me wrong. 
There is a lot of good being done in the House and the Senate, among the men and women of the Judiciary and through the Executive Branch. And I do understand that running a country this size is never going to be smooth sailing. But the standards which before had been raised to the level of "give me liberty or give me death" have now been lowered to "let's just do what we can for now and maybe worry about finding a permanent solution later." 
I have to wonder: is it later yet?
I saw an example of this just a few hours ago; scrolling through Twitter feeds, I found a post from CNN that was explaining the current trend of power in the Senate, and who would end up on top. Regardless of who that will be, this means... what? If Republicans, instead of Democrats, control the Senate, does that mean ISIS is going to detonate a nuclear bomb in New York? If Democrats retain the majority, does that mean farmers are going to lose their crops to famine and starve out the nation? What's the end game? I can't see in a goal in sight; besides winning, besides beating the other team. 
It's not good enough. 
It's certainly not what America signed up for. 
The structure of our government was created so that what work needed to be done could be done, and done efficiently by those who stepped up to the role of public service in the interest of devoting years of their lives to assisting the Common Good of the people.
There is an amazing capacity for good within the realm of political action. Just the other day this was really put into perspective for me by way of this statement: Scripture calls public servants ministers of God. That's right. Ministers of God. Those sitting in the legislature, those sitting in the governor's seat, those sitting in the president's seat... they are sharing in God's act of governance, of keeping civilization from falling back into chaos. They are appointed to guard life, to guard freedom, to guard justice. In this way, those in office participate in the governing authority of God himself.

It's really not about winning, since winning apparently means the Yankees beating the Red Sox in another world series showdown sure to be re-played in much the same fashion next season. By that metaphor, which I find extremely appropriate, winning has nothing to with it. What do constituents desire in a politician? According to polls, honesty is at the top of the list; along with determination, virtue, prudence, and a slew of other like-meaning terms. Taken together, they basically amount to this: the majority of America wants to be led by people who will do their jobs well, with integrity, and in the service of those who elected them, not for themselves.

That's what being a Witness means. It means stepping 
down and putting the needs of those around you before your own. It means doing something just because it's the right thing to do. It means holding to a higher standard, as America is held by many other nations to a higher standard. It means purposeful action, and speaking out, and being open to understanding the truths of the world around us. It means being fair, and being kind. In summary: a Witness does not lecture to a crowd from behind a podium. Witnessing is more than that. A Witness is given to a person. It doesn't matter who wins the world series of leadership. In the end, We, the People, are the end goal.

Just one question left.

What are we going do about it?


Marci Houle - Guest Author

I love music, I love to read, the piano is my favorite instrument, and Franciscan University is my college. I love my family and friends, I can be very snarky and sarcastic, and I'm fiercely loyal to the Catholic faith. I hope one day to be an author, and to follow in my mother's footsteps as an educator.

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