A few months ago my wife turned to me, “Do you realize politicians are the least trusted profession, yet we CHOOSE our politicians?” She was reading an article that ranked how we trusted different professions. I hadn’t framed political discussions in this light before. I pondered solutions to get better quality politicians in office but hadn’t considered they are the least trusted and yet we choose them.
We didn’t choose the Pharma-Bro, Martin Shkreli, to become wealthy and change the face of the AIDs pharmaceutical industry. He made lots of money and then used the money to leverage himself into a position of power. He made the choices enabling him to insert himself in history as a dick.
The most cynical of people can argue, “We can choose the success of people like the Pharma-Bro. We can choose not to buy their goods and services.” If we had perfect information, meaning all the facts at once, and we could see into the future then I agree we could choose to prevent a dick like the Pharma-Bro from becoming influential. Unfortunately we are not omniscient nor soothsayers.
It is ironic that the least trusted profession is responsible for protecting their constituents from dishonest businesses and people. If we believe our politicians lack the necessary moral compass to earn our trust, how will they fare when faced with history altering issues? When Lincoln chose to push the 13th amendment to the constitution abolishing slavery our nation believed that only white men had the right to vote. The decision to abolish slavery seems so easy in 2017 yet in 1865 the decision divided a new country. The natural decision that all men are created equal regardless of religion or race was not natural 150 years ago. Do we have politicians with the moral compass strong enough to act? Do we have politicians can make the necessary decisions to guide humanity toward a better world?
The answer should be a resounding YES! I believe I am an optimist yet my answer is a meek, no. I am saddened. I know we can change our course. It will take time. I pray our democracy will be there when we wake up as a nation. Democracy is fragile. The level of corruption in our current administration is frightening. The groups preying on the ability to divide a nation so they can profit from the attention economy is scary. The Civil War was a divided nation. Luckily at that time we didn’t have foreign actors trying to invade our country. If the groups working to divide us succeed are their foreign actors who will attack us? I don’t know for sure, but my opinion is that yes there are. Our strength as a nation is our commitment to the Constitution and belief that All Men (People) are Created Equal and deserve Equal Rights. This belief binds us to excel in all areas of our lives. This belief binds everyone regardless of race, religion, or gender into one nation.
We deserve better. We must make better decisions for ourselves. We must choose people we can trust and elect those people into political office. We must remove the people from office who are corrupt and cannot be trusted. We must remove them by popular vote. We must stand together and accept our differences of opinion. We must stand together because alone we will fall.