Recently, in the whole Roy Moore debate, there was a clip of another elected official in Alabama who was trying to defend Roy Moore’s stance against Islam. The issue that was brought up was being a public official and swearing on a Bible, which this official said that a Muslim could not do. The news host quickly pointed out that Muslims (and people of other faiths) do not swear on a Christian Bible, and instead choose a text that is meaningful to them. The result was complete silence from this official, and a load of embarrassment.
I’m not going to link to the video, since I feel bad for the guy. You can google it easily. But, what struck me hard in watching this is that we’ve lowered our standards for basic knowledge and intelligence from our elected officials. Gone are the days when learned men took up the mantle of leadership, governing with wisdom and knowledge. Instead, we look for our elected officials to be entertaining and engaging, and most importantly, agree with our personal moral agenda.
The shift from knowledge to morality in our leadership is a sad turn in our politics. Running a government is hard work, and ensuring that all the needs of the people are met take real creativity. Government, at all levels, is filled with career civil servants who are trying their hardest to carry out ever changing mandates, and be good stewards of tax payer money. Unfortunately, many officials are elected because of their ability to inflame the passions of those who support them. Not because they have studied and worked hard to learn how to lead and govern.
It’s time for a renaissance in politics. We need to strip away all the money, all the glitz, and get back to the art of public administration. Smart people governing with intelligence and creativity, doing the best that they can for the betterment of society.