Saturday, October 28, 2006

Earth and 21st Century Elected Officials

I know some folks don't like it when I get abstract and deviate from straight scoop about an election, but feel compelled to express my view that part of the problem in this country is that we too often elect poorly educated idiots.

Unfortunately our system tends to render elected office more accessible to the wealthy, well connected, and arrogant than to the talented, meritorious, and good. I know some people of sound mind and intellect who really do espouse the view that no truly decent person will run for office.

The early Greek philosophers recognized this shortcoming of a democracy, and if we're honest, we know our founding fathers didn't intend that just anyone should run for office. They believed in minimal credentials of some kind, I dunno, maybe the equivalent of the cerebral horsepower (and willingness to engage it) to know, as a world leader in 2006, that the internet is not composed of pipes.

Well, if we were to say certain characteristics should be possessed by those running for office, what would they be? For what they're worth, my remarks, and I call this person the "21st Century Elected Official."

The 21st Century Official is an individual who obtains the education and develops the awareness necessary to understand the need for global solutions.

21st Century Elected Officials will have a strong command of world history, political science, and economics, enough to develop a deep understanding of the forces involved on the planet and the ability to anticipate the consequences of certain actions. They will be avid readers and consumers of information, committed to constantly deepening their grasp of world events, and their perspective will be one of lifelong learning and the constant need to expand, the opposite of "I already know and don't need to learn more."

Their commitment to serving the public good will be authentic.

Their spirituality will transcend the right/wrong of particular religious views and recognize the necessity of allowing individuals to pursue their own convictions free of judgment. That cuts both ways. You want yours? Then let your neighbor have hers. Period.

They will serve those they represent, but they will serve the people they represent with the genuine understanding that what is best for those they represent is what is best for those they represent AND everyone else. Win/Lose and Either/Or need to die. We must embrace the AND. The 19th minute of A Beautiful Mind is fabulous.

The "every man for himself, every corporation for itself, every nation for itself, every religion for itself" Adam Smith paradigm will get us all killed. That doesn't mean we expose our throats to those who wish to kill us. The solution will require new thinking.

For example, consider the puzzle of the man with the lettuce, the lamb, and the wolf, who has a boat that can cross the river carrying only one of these at a time. If he takes the lettuce first, the wolf eats the lamb while he crosses. If he takes the wolf, the lamb eats the lettuce. If he takes the lamb first, ok, but oh wait, what does he take next?

There is a solution to this famous problem. The 21st Century Elected Official is the one who can dwell in such challenges with an openness to new ideas and the eagerness to find them, the one who embraces science and the knowledge it uncovers, the one who stands for progress. The 21st Century Elected Official is the opposite of those who impede progress to defend points of view that have become obsolete.


Blogger Dogma said...

It is certainly an imperfect system populated by imperfect actors. I use the word actors purposefully, as I think we selfdom see the real nature of our elected officials. Their true selves are more often than not clouded and cloaked. Political expediency is their bedfellow, and public image is more often than not a distorted funhouse mirror image that merely mocks reality.

Selfless service seems a distant goal when it should be the standard by which we elect our representatives and the bedrock upon which they serve.

But the selfish age in which we find ourselves adrift assails selfless service as heresy, all the while chanting its many monikers—Greed is Good or What is in it for me.

The average among us seems much more interested in following yet the latest American Idol star or what Brittany Spears did this week. But beware any who denigrate this vast, vacuous majority; as you will certainly be labeled with the scarlet letter E. E for elitist in recognizing the pathetic, myopic, trivial nature our pop culture. Or perhaps even worse, any acknowledgement of any imperfections will draw charges of being un-American or unpatriotic or even treason.

All who play to these lowest common denominators are the real traitors among us.

What I fear is fascism. Not in the future, but I contemplate silently in my mind’s eye if we’re not already afflicted by some low-grade fascist fever, eating away at the foundations of this most noble experiment in democracy.

Will the rule of “We the People” continue to evolve or end badly? Only time will tell…

10/28/2006 9:09 PM  
Blogger phx kid said...

Good post. I agree. I think Patrick Kennedy, Cynthia McKinney, and Barbara Boxer are total idiots!

10/28/2006 9:37 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

phx kid,
Apparently, the whole country thinks that our current president might be an idiot.

On your next trip to the mall, you might notice that the Christmas calendars are out. There were two choices for 2007 calendars that had Bush's lack of intelligence as the theme. Also, on your next trip to Target, take a look at the birthday cards. There is a whole selection of cards where again, the theme is to mock Bush. I bought one for my husband and he loved it. It's a really cute selection.

So, what we have here is a US president who is now the butt of all the jokes. Too bad it's not funny that we have to suffer another two years. In fact, that was the subject of one of the calendars. It was a countdown.

History will get it right, amigo. He'll be known as the worst president ever. There isn't a Democrat anywhere who will even come close.

10/29/2006 4:52 PM  

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