Opinion: Don’t lose faith in the government

Public trust in the government is near an all-time low. With the abundance of fact-checking resources and citizen reporters, you’d have to live in a hole not to hear reports of political wrongdoing. Many people blame the entire system, saying the government itself is the problem, not the elected officials.

I don’t subscribe to that notion. I look deeper, beneath the murky surface of the political system, and I see potential for good — purposeful, untainted good. While the whirlwind of unethical standards continues to stain the face of our government, I believe it has the power to build prosperity and ensure the pursuit of happiness guaranteed by the preamble of the Declaration of Independence.

When devoted minds come together with the purpose of doing the people’s work, the sky’s the limit. Government can solve problems, empower struggling citizens and ensure a future that will make the next generation proud. What other institution could possibly step up to the plate for such noble causes? It is a virtuous process built by the people, for the people. I have faith in the power of government to be an anchor during times of national struggle and to build bridges during times of national success.

It would be difficult for me to say the current state of our government is acceptable. Legislators frequently adhere to a separate and inferior moral standard, as shown by the recent scandals in Jefferson City. While it sickens me to see such neglect for the people they serve, it doesn’t ruin my image of the governmental process. The politicians we elected are broken, not our government.

My love for politics began three years ago while assisting the Index during the 2012 election night. There was magic in the air — it was intoxicating, and it began my educational focus toward public service. I have considered the private sector and what it would yield, but I currently don’t have plans to go that route. Now, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing an occupation in the private workforce. It’s not inherently wrong to choose a more lucrative profession — especially while trying to support a family — it’s just not meant for me.

What makes my desire to work in the public sector so strong is my aspiration to work for something larger than myself — something that wakes me up early and engages me late into the night. The greater purpose I find in government drives me to be the best form of myself, and it is for this and many other reasons that my devotion to the principles of government remains steadfast.

The remarks I’ve made might sound naive. It’s true I am still young. I cannot recall when treachery was at the highest level of government, with former President Richard Nixon resigning amidst scandal. But I do possess a certain degree of cynicism, one my Truman State education has helped solidify. It is good to question the system — it leads to accountability — but there is a difference between questioning the leaders and questioning the process.

I have seen people on both sides of the aisle do great work. Their motives were pure and unabated in the face of looming political danger. While this trait is far too uncommon, it exemplifies the potential of government. A body of elected officials, paired with a dedication to constituents, sovereignty from bribery and a strong dose of political courage, can do great and noble work for the nation. I subscribe to that notion.

1 Comment

  1. Mr. Bush,
    I applaud you for your optimism and I hope your future self will respond to the process that matures you out of naivete by recalling your piece here. Think of the good that can be done when people who share a desire for the common good come together. Then open your eyes to where you stand in your political career, and whether you find yourself ankle-deep in abattoir muck making sausage, or striding the blast on a crusade leaving oceans of blood behind you, ask yourself if you’re truly doing the people’s will, and whose people would stand for that will to be done?

    You listed a number of good qualities – political courage, pure motives – and good ideas – noble causes, virtuous process, building bridges. The one quality you neglect is the one desperately needed in every broken politician; true selflessness. It is the selfish heart that believes itself the best expression of the “people’s will” and that those who disagree are the enemy rather than the means by which your edge stays sharp and your own desires are tempered. Is it any accident that we, the People, are so dissatisfied with a government that so scarcely resembles us? How can Ivy League lawyers, self-made millionaires and scions of the powerful deign the will of those who have to make actual choices day by day? If you truly wish to lead, Mr. Bush, you must be a servant rather than a master.

    Consider this: you only needed to say you wish to seek public office, but you mention the private sector for the sole purpose of dismissing it, as if to say that 99% of employment (218 Million out of 221 Million jobs) are not what you had in mind. Remember, please, when you come to power that the rest of us actually do the work in this country.

    I’m being harsh on you because you need to hear it before you reach that point in your career when those in power believe themselves above reproach. If you saw the hubris of Nixon (perhaps in Frost/Nixon) you need to see how that hubris is common to Obama, Bush (twice), Bachmann, Carnahan (four times), Kerry, Clinton (twice), Pelosi, Emanuel, Ryan, DeLay and Daschle. A puffing-up of the self that gives the glamour of a mandate from the masses on every terrible notion, and sets world-changer against world-changer such that both are quarreling cats, spitting and mewing while the house burns down around them.

    Stay humble, son.

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