"Have few friends who serve in office. If you can, don't have any friends who are elected officials."
I found such advice strict, even draconian.
Why would I not want to be friends with men and women who are fighting for me in elected office?
What I am learning slowly but surely is that far too many elected officials are not working for us. Political power is not firmly placed in our hands, but is sifting away into the third house.
Unbelievable. By "third house", I mean special interest money.
The money is flowing throughout Sacramento, and it's overflowing in Washington DC.
No wonder politicians can be very fickle, untrustworthy people.
But I realized from another perspective why it's wise to have as few politician friends as possible.
It's not just about general disdain for elected officials.
The concern is more than about unethical behavior or betrayal.
It's about leadership, ownership, and final authority.
What do I mean?
It comes down to this ...
I was a teacher.
In order to be effective, teachers have to correct their students. There are times in which students will be very angry with their teachers. Yet that is part of the job. The same holds true for parents raising their children.
If we treat students or our children like friends, we will struggle to discipline them, to make the right decisions, even though they are unpopular. Conflicts will arise over principled goals and proper outcomes.
|It's About We the People|
Not "They The Government"
The same is true for employers and their employees. They can be friendly, but at the end of the day the boss makes the decisions, and their workers must comply or leave. If we put our feelings and friendship into the mix, it becomes very difficult to make tough yet necessary decisions. Our feelings, our camaraderie gets in the way.
From the second set of examples I will draw the point clearly.
Our elected officials work for us. We do not work for them. It's as simple as that.
They are our employees. If I want to be their friends, then I will have a hard time telling them the truth, especially when they have done very bad things.
If I view them as employees, it makes it so much easier to hold them accountable for their bad votes, their lack of morals, or the complete absence of ethics in their training and decision-making.
Let's settle our hearts. Elected officials work for us. We can be friendly with some of them, but at the end of the day they must uphold the rule of law and protect our rights.
When they fail, we need to let them know, and not hold back our discontent.