Where voters have a choice, in most offices the incumbents won’t win with landslide victories.
Good news for two offices in Klamath County, but the 2012 general election is about NOT having choices. How is that democracy? Why aren’t more people running for office? So many voters were aching for better choices for the Senate and House seats. Others for solid alternatives to incumbents in city council seats. But there weren’t any.
Every year tens of thousands of very patriotic people volunteer for positions in the armed forces where they could very likely be killed for their country. But only a few hundred file to run for public office in the entire nation. How ironic is that? Individuals in public office are typically held in higher esteem than those who serve, usually receive far better benefits, and don’t risk dying every day. People would rather die than run for office?
If the Constitution is our most patriotic foundation, one needs only to read it to discover which job is more revered. The Constitution looks down on the armed forces as a tool for maintaining sovereignty; it limits the length of foreign war. In fact, it barely mentions the military. Contrast this with how often elections and various public offices are mentioned. The Constitution is dedicated to public office and the operation of government, driven by those elected by the people to serve. It sets forth the structure for all governments below it to exist.
Therefore, the most patriotic act any human being can perform is to serve the ideals of the Constitution by running for public office.
The founders felt that choice and freedom are unified as liberty. Without choice, there is no freedom in a democracy. Even if there is no chance of winning, people should be filing to ensure there are choices. Along the way, they will learn about the realities of the political system, much of which the Constitution did not anticipate or check. Every person that runs and fails has a story to tell friends and relatives, who share those stories with other people. With more people participating in the process, a greater understanding of what is wrong would emerge, the voter base would become smarter and many of the problems associated with the power base of the ruling class would be alleviated.
As it stands, hardly anyone has a clue what is going on behind the scenes. Voters don’t know that there aren’t any real debates these days. They don’t know that the candidate with the most money almost always wins, or that incumbents almost always win, or those they endorse in their place do. The media is bought and paid for by campaign contributions. Money+politics=corruption. There are suspicions, but not felt deep enough to compel people to vote differently–to automatically vote against incumbents or for whomever raised the least amount of money. Suspicions aren’t enough to change the fabric of politics. People need to run for office to experience the process directly.
Such are the reasons people don’t run for office.
You won’t see those already in office doing anything about this situation, even though that mindset is contrary to their oath. It is human nature to hold onto power and control. People take the path of least resistance. Anything an incumbent can do to limit choices in elections will be quietly supported.
Its like this: suppose you have a really easy job where you order people around all day for $100,000 a year. The last thing you want is some upstart gaining access to the people above you who might fire you and hire someone else. Intentionally and subconsciously, you are going to defend your turf by creating barriers. You would not remove barriers that would make it easier for someone to take your job. You engineer greater separation between the people you report to and people below you. You expand chain of command so that if you go down, others do as well. Those people stay loyal out of the same type of self-interest. You elevate yourself through grandstanding and manipulation so everyone who mattered would be on your side. That’s how it works in large businesses. That’s also how many of the most brutal African and South American dictatorships are run. Come to think of it, drug cartels operate that way too.
How sad it is that we’ve allowed our political system to resemble an oppressive regime simply because more people won’t perform the most patriotic service of all: running for office.
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