The author wrote this after reading a distasteful parody of "The Emperor's New Clothes" in which President Bush was the shown as the emperor.
Now, don't take me wrong. I know there are public servants who abuse the power of their positions. Sad, but true . Most, however, are dedicated to the task of representing their constituents. For that we can and should be grateful.
In the movie, The American President, the lead character, President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, gives a speech in which he says the American form of government is Advanced Citizenship. It is. How many governments, past or present, have been designed so that men and women could be elected to represent the entire population? Not many. A few more exist on paper but fall short in actual practice.
In the United States, 535 elected members of Congress represent 280,000,000 Americans. Wow! That is a lot of responsibility. It becomes even more remarkable when we realize that no two people think alike - not even identical twins, who began life as a single cell, think alike.
Case in point, how many times have we made statements like, "Isn't that a pretty red dress!" only to have someone come back with, "It's pretty, but it's not red; it's hot pink"? Beauty (or red, in this case) is in the eye of the beholder.
To one person, granting broad freedoms is the open-minded, democratic way of life. To another person with a very similar educational level and lifestyle, granting broad freedoms is asking for trouble. Broad freedoms are also in the eye of the beholder. Yet, we grapple with such issues every day. Rather than have all 280 million of us battling it out in the streets, we elect representatives to debate it all in Congress...and the state legislatures...and the county councils...and the city councils...and the school boards...and among the club officers...ad infinitum.
We really have to tip our hats to the man or woman who would step up to the plate, knowing full well how much disagreement they will face.
Sadly, it has become popular to find fault with our elected representatives. In some cases, it seems as though the fault-finders would criticize which side he or she parts his or her hair on if they could not come up with anything else to fault.
Let's move away from this. Let's start looking for what's right with our elected officials. If we can't find enough that's right with them, then let's elect someone different next time. Also, if we find ourselves called upon to serve in a representative capacity - even as coach of the local soccer team - let's pray that we will serve to the best of our ability. So, too, should we pray for our elected officials.
For those of you who might wish to take issue with me, this comes straight from the Bible, which says, "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." (Hebrews 13:17 NIV).
April 19, 2007
Copyright © 2007 by Virginia Tolles