In their vision, men and women sacrifice their strict focus on career for a short while to serve in public office. They continued to work in their home towns among their constituents, coming to the capital only once or twice a year to do the people’s business, and then returned home straightaway.
Imagine, no “ruling class,” no “pork,” no “career politicians”; corruption would be far less prevalent, if not, nonexistent. The wheeling and dealing of lobbyists would be, in effect, silenced by making never-ending campaigning obsolete. Think what our legislature could accomplish if it were not constantly pandering to lobbyists for campaign cash, and to constituents for votes in an upcoming election.
The political class eclipsed the boundaries of their offices long ago. The President, along with his staff and Cabinet, has good reason to live in Washington. Our Congressional and Senatorial representatives have abused the system for so long that it doesn’t even occur to us to question their practices. But it’s our business, and our call.
It’s no wonder that infidelity is prevalent and lobbyists have become such a force; politicians spend too much time away from their families and the communities they serve. Under the vision of the Founders, they would be too busy with their careers and neighborhoods to be hashing out deals over dinner and drinks, or having torrid affairs.
It would be a drastic change, one they wouldn’t particularly like, I’d imagine. No more jet setting around the country and the world on junkets, and no more huge expense accounts to cover the costs of living in two places. My, what a boring and menial lifestyle it would be if there was no longer a cash cow, or valid excuse to be globe-trotting day in and out.
Public service as intended, without frills, riches, or lifetime benefits would be a coup for the citizens of this country. Taking away the back room deals, corruption, and decadence, would be an impediment to temptation, possibly negating a considerable cache of in-closet skeletons, and making a run for office less of a liability and intrusion on a public servant’s family.
Many perks are given freely to our President, as well. We understand that the leader of the free world carries enormous responsibility, and we seek to give respite to that person and their family for their term in office, in thanks for the sacrifice and disruption of their lives.
It’s incumbent upon us to remember, however, that we elect a President, not a King. There have been many abuses of our generosity in years past, and it’s time we put some restrictions and boundaries in place to guard against such fraud. We are the boss in this scenario; the President works for us. There is no reason for our First Family’s lifestyle to be so exceedingly opulent comparatively to our own.
Historically, most of our Presidents have shown a proper restraint and gratitude for the benefits bestowed on them by the people. It’s shameful that we need to legislate barriers to abuse at the highest level of government. At a time when many are living in relative poverty, employment is down across many industries, and our national debt has reached historic levels, however, it is the right thing to do.
Our elected representatives have taken advantage at our expense for too long, just one of many issues that need to be addressed. They won’t give up their largesse voluntarily; we will have to demand that it be relinquished. We’ve been lazy with our government oversight and we’re paying a high price.
Were we to reform our expectations and curb the outrageous spending habits of our government officials, in a short while we would find greater enthusiasm and respect for the honor of public service and civic involvement. The pool of our peers who choose a short-term stint in office would grow, and we would select representatives from among our neighbors.
Additionally, the millions currently spent to continuously fly representatives back and forth from their homes to the Capitol, house, and pamper those who are supposed to be working for us, can be left in the pockets of hardworking taxpayers where it belongs.
This was the Founding Fathers’ vision: citizen representatives in Government — by, of, and for the people. This is our country, and we have every right to demand this of our legislative, judicial, and executive representatives.
As seen on Madison’s CPC.