FIVE days from now the U.S. people will vote for their next President, the leader of The Free World. Forty five percent of his own countrymen will vote against him. He will carry the electoral college with 5 to 6 swing states. Media outlets will both laud and pound him. Bloggers will rejoice. Others will hate the sight of him. Some will plot to take him down. Many more across the world will see him as little more than a figurehead for a cabal of selfish modern day robber-barons, intent on peddling the new religion of consumerism, and all the foreign misadventures it entails.
We have a dim view of politics in the UK. Heck, we’ve had long enough to get cynical about it – we’ve had parliamentary representation for over 300 years, and enough dubious political figures to found a small colony (and many did). We rail about low pay, the state of the railways, the youth and Prescott’s Jag. We moan about a government out to tax us to death (and beyond), and the appalling state of our health service. We don’t choose to vote, but we like to have our say, even so.
We forget that most politicians don’t earn as much as the average Managing Director. They don’t get into politics for a cushy life, an easy ride. They do so to serve. To make a difference, to affect change in a hurting world, to step into the arena, not cower in the corner. We should treat them as heroes, not villains, applaud their commitment, their sacrifice, their service.
I for one still believe in a place called Hope. As Leo himself once said:
“This is the most important thing I’ll ever do. I have to do it well.”
That’s what service is all about. Just ask Josiah Bartlet.