In former positions I had the privilege of working closely with politicians. I did this for about twelve years. My former positions were a bit unique in that I reported directly to a local body of elected leaders. When I would meet people and explain that I had nine supervisors, people would shake their head in disbelief and respond that having one boss was enough for them; having nine was unfathomable.
In fact, I adjusted to the reporting structure and I like to think I did some small part to move the locality forward. As I look at what is happening in this country now, with the impeachment hearings, I am acutely reminded of what makes enacting and following sound policy and laws so very difficult for lawmakers after they take the oath to serve: The Shift.
I worked with quite a few politicians who honestly worked hard to make good decisions on behalf of their constituents. I have seen them labor over complicated documents and sit through lengthy presentations for hours on end to ensure they fully understood the impact of their decisions. Unfortunately, many times I also witnessed firsthand them being mischaracterized by the media and treated unfairly by the very people on whose behalf they worked so tirelessly.
However, what I witnessed too, more times than I care to remember, was seeing politicians who came into office with the best of intentions who later morphed into a leader whose every thought and action seemed to be solely dictated by their desire to remain in their seats, to be reelected, by any legal means necessary. These are the ones you won’t see associated with illegal behavior in the headlines; however, they do and say whatever is popular to curry favor with their voters. Voters who maybe had good intentions but didn’t have the advantage of reviewing all the documents or even understanding the very complicated information provided through supporting presentations on specific matters which required a vote. The politicians frequently followed the loudest voices of dissent even when doing so may have ultimately been at the expense of the greater good.
I think that is what I am seeing now on the national level. Politicians, on both sides of the aisle, posturing and creating sensational sound bites to be featured prominently on the news, constantly pandering to their political base. They appear to have no regard for the nation’s welfare and the lives that are impacted by their words and their actions. Sadly, I have witnessed this before; the shift is happening, in unprecedented numbers, to the detriment of us all.