Stephens: What Ever Happened To Public Service?


There was a time when serving in State and Federal office was considered service. Service to one’s town. Service to one’s state. Service to one’s country. It would appear that that era is dead. I would surmise that a vast majority of Americans today would consider running for office an opportunity to enhance one’s fortunes. But do they?

With the rise of Trump, it appears that a good number of Americans think that maybe that’s not always so. Perhaps there is hope. Trump appears to be a throwback to the days of our founding, when our elected officials truly served. They were the moneyed class, and they didn’t need government to enhance their fortunes, because they were already well-to-do. George Washington, after leading the revolutionary war, could have easily chosen to return to Mount Vernon and live out his days in relative ease. He chose to answer the call to serve a fledgling nation. He was not alone. And as a result, they made decisions for the good of the country, not for the good of their own pocketbooks.

Although there are some still in state and federal office that do serve, we know there are as many who serve themselves.

We have seen how this President has gloried in the trappings of power, while we know that Trump has his own jet, and pays his own way. That’s appealing to a lot of Americans.

The cynicism of today’s politics is born of the obvious, glaring cronyism of today’s politics. Examples abound; Insurance companies reap gross profits, while hospitals and doctors struggle with treating Medicaid patients because the reimbursement rate is below the cost of providing those services. Boeing gets help from the Export-Import Bank to make their planes cheaper for foreign companies (at the expense of the American taxpayer), while local banks and credit unions that loan to small, local businesses are put out of business by the onerous reporting and compliance requirements of Dodd-Frank—to the benefit of the same big banks that required American taxpayers to step in and bail them out.

And let us not forget the Bill and Hillary Show. There is no signed statement from the heads of state, corporate heads and politicians who heaped millions of dollars on the Clinton Foundation, and on Bill and Hillary Clinton for “speeches,” stating that there was a quid pro quo for those payments, but they were doing business with the US State Department and received favorable treatment while Hillary was the Secretary of State. It has allowed the Clintons to travel the world in luxury, while spreading the crumbs to those whose causes they pretend to support.

So in these times of cynicism and frustration, take the time to look at those seeking office with a new perspective. Start again to think of those that represent us as those that serve us. In that light, the field of Presidential candidates narrows considerably. As you follow this never-ending campaign, your decisions will be much easier if you look at the candidates in the light of “Those that serve”.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.  The Maine Wire is a news and opinion service, and as such does not support or endorse any candidates.

About Barry Stephens

Barry Stephens

Barry Stephens, as the Business Development Director at Zehnder America, Inc, is immersed in the energy efficiency building industry across North America. He lectures and teaches at energy efficiency conferences in the US and Canada, and is involved with many high profile energy efficient buildings projects. He built his own super efficient home in Buxton.

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