Maybe there is hope…

Just wanted to share two quick videos to remind people what legitimate politicians are look like:

Now, I’m not trying to be political here. Not in a partisan way, at least. Clearly, one video is from a candidate I supported; and the other is… Paul Ryan. But both of these videos are deliberately positive, and show that these public figures understand the responsibilities they have and how they actually take their jobs seriously.

I remember a comment my dad made back during the 2008 election, when he said it was the first time he felt like he could actually call a candidate a ‘statesman’ in the way people used to refer to Eisenhower or Kennedy. It described someone who carried both a sense of authority and humility. Someone you could respect, even if you disagreed with their politics. Someone who could prompt a guy like John Wayne to say, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president and I hope he does a good job.”

Unfortunately, we live in a different time. But it’s not the statesman who’s changed. They’re still there. It’s us voters who have changed. Following Watergate and an emerging 24-hour news cycle, we had an opportunity to hold our elected officials more accountable. To demand ownership of their decisions and transparency within their administrations. Instead, we just said “they’re all crooks” and “kick the bums out.” We’ve entered a decades-long downward spiral of electing angry, untrustworthy politicians, and then reacting by electing even angrier, more untrustworthy politicians.

But these two videos prove that the statesman (and arguably more importantly: the stateswoman) is still out there. Yeah, I know these are just political ads. But they’re encouraging. It’s proof that positive messages, a willingness to collaborate, and a reverence for public office are still admirable.

So to the cynics who say that these are just polished, focus group-tested propaganda pieces: you’re right. But instead of dismissing these, let’s actually start expecting our officials to live up to these ideals. Let’s stop making virtues out of ignorance and ad-hominem attacks, and make intelligence and reasoned debate the norm again. It won’t be up to the politicians to make this change. It’s up to us. If we raise our standards, the politicians will follow, and maybe someday soon we’ll actually hear someone say, “I didn’t vote for her, but she’s my president and I hope she does a good job.”


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