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Commentary: Ease Up On Political Cynicism

A politician campaigning. align=right

Politicans are crooks. And liars. Oh, and let's not forget adulterers. You get the picture. These are common descriptions of our government leaders. And there are certainly plenty of examples to support these claims. Still, commentator Scott Hicks has a different view of most politicians. As a child, I was completely engrossed when we studied the Founding Fathers and the birth of our nation - the courage, honor and dignity of men and women offering up their lives to create a country based in freedom and equality rang of a high calling. Years passed and like many I became cynical. I've never lost my respect for the ideals this country was built on though. Folks carp that all politicians are crooked and that the government is bought by big money. I contend that to enter into public service is no "walk in the park". Why would an educated individual with resources, connections and the wherewithal to run for office subject himself or herself to life in a fish bowl? Why would they bypass what is typically more money in the business field to perform in a field that is largely thankless and fraught with criticism? Some would say they want power. It is a long an arduous road to any real power. There are easier paths. I suggest that, for the most part, they wish to serve their country. I still believe that most folks who enter the political arena want to change things for the positive. It has been said that "Liberty breeds morality." In order for that to hold true government must be based in that same morality. If we fail the founders of this great country it is not in our dissension or partisan haggling. It is in our loss of this morality. To claim God's grace and name as imminently particular to our cause is itself flawed. To live and act in accordance with God's grace is to practice the highest form of democracy. Thomas Jefferson posited, "The public heart of freedom would, by its independence of thought and will, create a "government by the people for the people." This is the dream that I, as a precocious child, embraced and still believe even as a grizzled and cynical citizen. We are practicing democracy at its messy, argumentative best. Let us not escape our moral responsibility by casting stones at those who would engage themselves in the difficult work of nation. Rather, let us call on them to remember the sacrifices made. When we stand in that voting booth, can we search our mind and hearts for the moral high ground? Let us put aside our cynical stone casting. Most of all let us lay down the burden of our prejudice and rise to a "public heart" that duly honors those who sacrifice so much for the dream that is America.