The winner? The Government Party
The Bible teaches that God, our maker, prefers a humble person over a haughty person. The process of our growing older advances His goal. There are fewer haughty old folks than there are haughty young ones. Age generally introduces one to one’s advancing limitations.
Gray hair in times past has symbolized the hard-won wisdom of experience. A glance in the mirror assures me I should be wiser than I feel.
That’s the background for a confession about choosing and voting for political candidates.
A friend called and asked my advice on which candidates to vote for in the primary this week. Of course, I was instantly happy to oblige him. My tenth-grade algebra teacher called that “pooling our ignorance.”
He asked me why I had stopped publicly endorsing candidates. I did some head-scratching, and stops and starts, uhs and ahs.
“You backing off some?” he asked gently.
Then I had a moment of clarity. “No, it’s because I’m so often wrong. I’m just wrong too much.”
And that’s the truth.
I picked more winners than losers, but then some (maybe many) of those winners got elected and proceeded to make me wish I had never said a kind word about them.
And many that I opposed also ended up about the same — disappointing more often than not. There have been a few surprises, of the pleasant sort.
But fewer than those about which one just shakes his head and takes comfort in the hope that the sun will rise again tomorrow and maybe things will get better, even if the elected official does not.
I have said over the decades I have been doing this that a strange, but entirely predictable, thing happens to about nine-point-nine out of 10 candidates who ascend to elective office. Like Yoda warned, they go over to the Dark Side, no matter which party they represent.
I have refined that prediction in recent years. I say that whatever party the candidates ostensibly represent, they (mostly all) become hard-core members of the Government Party once they take the oath of office.
And to whom do Government Party members seek to please first, before and almost always instead of the voters who put them there? Government Party employees, meaning whoever draws a check paid for by the taxpayers.
Yes, fellow Americans, years of covering city government, county government, state government, federal government have convinced me that, once on the inside, elected officials are first and foremost concerned about public employees. Those are the folks they seek to please above all else. Taxpayers are way down their gift list, an irritating crazy uncle at the spoils party.
It’s like those elected woke up to be revealed as pod people, mind-linked agents of an alien autocracy wearing everyday skin and attending Memorial Day cookouts.
So-called Democrats are more brazen about it than Republicans, but the GOP has its public sector sacred cows as well.
Party apologists, red and blue, will scoff and say that’s the difference between campaigning and governing.
Government Party employees — if they are honest — will say, “What’s your point? Of course we come first. We are here to serve you.”
I say, sorrowfully, that the concept of “public service” no longer means what it once did. The taxpayers (that minority who still pay any meaningful taxes) exist to serve the Government Party and its self-serving goals. We have become the means to the Party’s own end. And what end is that?
Ever-expanding, ever more intrusive, ever more controlling self-perpetuation. At whatever level. At all levels.
Back to the beginning: I could be wrong. I could be wrong about this whole Government Party thing. Maybe I’m that crazy uncle.
But if I’m only partly right, who among all these candidates on the ballot will champion the ones who pay the bills, who always pay the bills? Who among them will consider the government to be the actual servant of the people, rather than the people’s master?
I don’t hate the government. But I despise the Government Party.
[Cal Beverly has been editor and publisher of The Citizen since its founding in February 1993.]