BA on Assignment

August 5, 2015

A Public Servant

More articles for »
Written for: Communicado Magazine
Tags: , , , , ,

I have vowed not to write about the next presidential election until January, 2016. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…

But, because the presidential election cycle seems to begin earlier and earlier each time, there are important happenings that I just cannot avoid… Like Donald Trump. So, I’m going to attack this problem from the perspective of Public Service.

Public Servant: A government official or employee
Public Service: Work that is done as part of a government; Something that is done to help people rather than to make a profit.
Politician: A person engaged in party politics as a profession; One actively engaged in conducting the business of a government.

The President of the United States is a public servant. Every member of Congress is a public servant. The Justices that sit on the Supreme Court are public servants. These are the three branches of government that run our country – Executive, Legislative and Judicial.

They were set up to provide checks and balances – no single branch should be able to make decisions without a check from another. Unlike in the business community, unilateral decisions are not possible. This could be a problem for Donald Trump…

He’s used to being the boss and making any decisions he’d like because… He’s the boss. Mr. Trump has also made mention of the fact that he’s not a debater, he just gets things done. The floors of the House and Senate are for the purpose of proposal and debate, ultimately leading to a vote to create laws. Would Donald Trump’s style fit in that process?

Facts: Donald Trump is an extremely successful businessman… He’s even seen great success as an entertainer. His negotiation skills are likely unmatched. But ask yourself, is he a public servant? Can he be a public servant?

Like Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump is revealing some truths. Just about everything I hear Bernie Sanders say is spot-on. And while there’s a resonance of truth to what Donald Trump is saying, it gets lost in insults and exclusionary rhetoric. Eventually, his lighting rod will disintegrate and the focus will return to electing a public servant.

But this presents the next problem which is… We don’t think of our presidential elections as electing a public servant. We look at them as electing the next chief politician, which is why we’re always so disappointed with our presidents at some point.

So the question again is: Who is the best public servant as opposed to who’s the best politician.

Now, based on the definition of a politician, we should have confidence in electing politicians. But the role of politician has been so abused and so distorted that we really need to change the narrative; We need to elect public servants.

It’s been said that voters want elected officials that are just like them; I’m not convinced that’s the best idea… We really do need politicians to run our government. But, many of our politicians have failed us – Congress’ current approval rating is 8%. That’s clear failure. So the best safeguard we can find is to set the standard for our elected officials at voting for people who are committed to public service.

It’s a good litmus test… We should try it…