Politicians Make Poor Messiahs

I have noticed a trend in the last few Presidential elections. People seem to look at the leading candidate like he is some sort of messiah. No matter which side of the political spectrum your candidate is on, the man is the one who is going to fix all of the problems in the country. With his god-like status, he will be able to right all wrongs.

close up photo of man wearing black suit jacket doing thumbs up gesture

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

 The problem with this kind of thinking is that it just isn’t true. Our Presidents are human and can only do so much to alleviate the ills in the country. If they have a Congress who is willing to work with him, they may get something done. If not, the President is pretty much spinning his wheels during his time in office.

No matter who we elect, that person is human and a flawed individual. The media may or may not choose to prop the President up, but in the end their flaws and mistakes become known. There is no hiding the fact, that even if they do their best, they will still make some pretty big mistakes.

Have we so left behind our belief in a Supreme Being that we are willing to assign god-like status to a man? Do we really think that a mere mortal can save us from ourselves and provide some sort of utopia here on the earth? There is nothing wrong with needing a Messiah as long as we choose one who is not fully human. Take Jesus for instance, he is the ultimate God-Man. He was perfect, sinless  and came to give his life for the likes of you and me. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16  Jesus is the only one who can take care of all of our needs and make our lives better.

Let’s quit looking at mere mortal men as messiahs. In spite of their best efforts, they are ALL flawed individuals. And let’s be done with looking at our Presidents and Presidential candidates like they can solve all of the ills of the world. From my vantage point, Politicians make poor Messiahs. How about from your vantage point? 

Are you a Populist or an Elitist?

pexels-photo-1002222.jpegLast week, I took a survey from the Harvard Digital Lab for Social Sciences. The questions were about how I viewed politicians. I didn’t rate them very high and didn’t think that just because they were politicians, they had a better grasp on a lot of the issues than the average person. (This weekend, I am watching the government shutdown and quite frankly, it is confirming my opinions.) At the end of the survey, possibly because of my answers, the last question was, “Are you a Populist?”

I didn’t really know how to answer that last question. I have never thought of myself as a Populist, but what is the antithesis of a Populist? An Elitist? In order to better formulate my opinion, I checked Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary and looked up the two definitions: “Populist – a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people,” “Elitist – one whose attitudes and beliefs are biased in favor of a socially elite class of people.” There was also a quote by Michael Barone under the Elitist definition that stated that a Populist “believes that people can make better decisions for themselves than Elites can.”

Certainly, by those definitions, I am a Populist.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate a person’s education and won’t seek out a doctor or other educated professional to help me when I have a need. I don’t look to my neighbor for help when my appendix is hurting, and I don’t ask my girlfriends questions about my taxes. I do look to those with more learning and experience than I have when I am dealing with a subject that I don’t fully understand.

Back to the subject of politicians, I certainly do not believe they are an elite group of people. They may have more education and experience than I do at their chosen profession, but I don’t view them as any better than anyone else. For the most part, from what I have observed, their main focus is on becoming re-elected. Solving the problems of our society seem to come in a poor second to playing to whichever base they need for their next run for office. Whether a politician is educated at Harvard or a state-run school, I believe the greatest quality we need from them is integrity. I want a politician to be concerned about the needs of the people and have the integrity to work for the good of the people he serves. I want him or her to work with the other party, if needed, in order to achieve the best outcome for whatever problem they are dealing with. 

I know our founding fathers did not trust the common people of their time to make good decisions for themselves. They were better educated than the average citizen, many of whom could not read or write.  They were the Elites of their day. In today’s society, the average citizen can read and write and has the opportunity to enhance his education as much as he or she wants to. So I have come to a conclusion about my question, “Populist or Elitist?” I am a Populist. What about you?