As the 2020 elections approach – almost too quickly – here in the U.S., I’m almost amused at the thought of who’s going to grab the Democratic presidential nomination and how they will combat (faux) President Donald Trump. Key word here – almost. A lifetime of watching political battles rage across the media spectrum and nearly three decades of making every effort I could to register my own vote, along with discussing a variety of issues with family, friends, coworkers, gym partners and strangers, have perhaps left me cynical and jaded. I feel that usually happens once you get past the half-century mark in birthdays. Not only is my body now wanting to lead a life of its own, so is my mind. Can I get a new persona?
But, despite the anguish and frustration, I realized something crucial a while back. Every election cycle candidates for whatever office rushes out to visit potential constituents; shaking hands, kissing babies (born or unborn), eating virtually everything that approaches their lips, and – of course – dishing out a cadre of promises. Then, as often happens, they get into that designated office and find out it just doesn’t work out that simply. So they disappoint us and shove their spokespeople and p.r. reps before our faces to explain why things didn’t go as planned. So, what’s new this year?
Nothing, really. Yet, I know THEY seek our votes for a certain high-profile position and – if elected – they will get paid with OUR tax dollars. Ultimately, THEY work for US. We DON’T work for them. WE employ them, in fact, based upon their qualifications for the job (in theory), and THEY are assigned specific duties, according to that particular role. These are not full-time, permanent roles for them; they are CONTRACT jobs. In other words, they are nothing more than glorified TEMP WORKERS.
Whether it’s the U.S. presidency, a governorship, a judgeship or a spot on a local school board, they present themselves to us as job candidates and ask to be hired. WE, the People, analyze their skills and experience and make our decisions afterwards. We are charged with the complex responsibility of assessing their viability for the job and choosing whether to grant them that role. In all cases, the majority rules; regardless, WE, the People, are essentially their employers. Again, the salaries for those positions comes out of our tax dollars.
They are contracted out for an X period of time, and when that term is up – if they’ve chosen to continue – WE, the People, review their job performance and decide if we want to renew their contract. We look at what they’ve done and how they’ve handles themselves during their tenure. Both work performance and attitude matter equally. As with the initial hiring process, the majority rules. So, while some of us may be thrilled to see the official re-hired, many among us aren’t. Sadly, that’s just how it is.
These election events are always difficult and frustrating. It’s not that they can be difficult and frustrating; they ARE difficult and frustrating! Things don’t always turn out clearly. Evidence: the 2016 U.S. elections.
And no official in their right mind (and understand many of them aren’t from the very beginning) will take their contract renewal for granted. Evidence: the 2018 Senate race here in Texas. Republican Junior Senator Ted Cruz almost lost to Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke. Cruz had coasted easily to his 2012 maiden run and perhaps assumed last year’s contest would be equally undramatic. As I always love to see happen to such arrogance, Cruz assumed wrong and won by literally a handful of votes.
It is such an unpleasant task to sort through the chaos and the rhetoric and determine who is best equipped for that designated position. But it is what We, the People, have to do to keep our society functioning properly and soundly. Democracy is one thing that can’t be automated.
Just remember, my friends, the people who run for office are asking for our votes. That simply means THEY work for US. We, the People, hire them and we can fire them. They all have to remember that. But so do we.