Elected Officials: Do You Want The Job, or Just the Title?
Given that only 31 lawmakers stood up to protest and bring attention to the inherent flaws in the voting process, I began to wonder why this issue was not important enough to compell all 44 Democratic Senators and 211 Democratic Congresspersons to take this stand.
I've worked in government positions for most of my career at the Federal, State and Municipal levels, where I've had responsible positions that involved policy implementation and development, enforcement and monitoring oversight involving governmental rules and regulations. I did the work, but I never held a title like "Deputy Director" or anything like that. My supervisors were the ones who held the title - yet we on the grunt line actually did the work. Many of them never got their hands dirty in the field like we did, and frequently had no concept of the mission of the Agency or the work we were charged to do; usually the title and the job was a political perk of supporting an individual in political office.
I've begun to think that our elected officials, regardless of party affiliation, just want the title and privilages that go with being called "Assemblyman", "Congressman" or "Senator". They don't want the job of having to actually sit down and read proposed legislation and thinking about what they read in terms of providing an analysis of it.
Yes, I know they have staff people who do the reading and research. But the staff person isn't the elected official. Even after the staff person reads and analyzes proposed legislation, the elected official shouldn't let it rest with his policy person - they should be providing feedback and analysis of their own. It's not like they don't know how; most of our elected officials are law school graduates, or college-educated in some field which requires them to know how to engage in critical thinking and analysis. We may like how they look - but we expect them to represent our interests by being able to engage in the critical thought and debate process, otherwise, why should they bother?
Some lawmakers actually demonstrate they do the job for which they were elected, like Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, John Conyers, Mel Watt, and others. I noticed during the Ohio election debate, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus arguing the voting process, presented the facts in evidence like an attorney would do. Not surprising, since all of them were either lawyers, and/or judges in a previous life before being called to serve in public office.
Other members of Congress do anything to hang on to their office, and that includes often going against the best interests of the people they purport to represent. Last night, on the Bernie Ward Show here in the Bay Area, Bernie asked the question "I wonder if the elected official fears actually having to go out and get a real job if they lose their seat? I think they are actually afraid that they can't do any other job except hold public office..."
Currently, the DLC has members who not only have done squat in their current office, but actually have the audacity to aspire for higher political office, where they can continue to do nothing, and have a longer period of time in which to do it, too. Our democracy, what's left of it, can't afford elected officials who want the title, but not the job.
It will be up to us, the people to call our elected officials on this and vote them out when they don't respond. For too long, we've paid the price of not holding our elected officials accountable and not getting a return on our investment of our vote. I refuse to remain silent - I hope you would, too.