If you ask military personnel, clergy or first responders who they prioritize in a crisis situation, the answer will be, “whoever’s in the greatest need or peril at that moment.”
Elected officials never fail to praise this level of selflessness. They offer winning soundbites about how “love thy neighbor” is a cornerstone of American values and patriotism. But when it comes to leading by example, it’s often a different story.
With midterms approaching, the most important question to ask an office seeker isn’t about his or her platform. Instead, ask: “Who comes first?”
In other words, when faced with tough decisions, what will you prioritize — your career, or the needs of the people who gave that career to you?
The answer will tell you all you need to know about the rest of their policy positions.
Sadly, that only works if the politicians actually understands what those needs are and doesn’t mistakenly put desires into the same category. But then, the flip side of that is that loses the politician their job too.
I think we’d all like to believe that those who seek elected office do so because they want to represent the core values of their district or state. So they should know the difference between needs and desires, at least initially. The problem is that in most cases, once they get elected, their concern becomes less about their constituents and more about keeping their jobs.
I don’t think the framers intended elected office to be a career. They expected you would serve your term and then go back home, so that while you were in office you could vote your conscience without potential job loss as a factor in your decision.