Opinion

Changing the System

By Jedediah Bila

Jedediah Bila

 I had an interesting conversation this week with a thirteen-year-old girl. She’s quite intelligent, highly motivated, and not afraid to express her opinions. She’s also very interested in politics and asked several questions about my television appearances and my writing.

 About halfway through the conversation, she mentioned that some of her friends have told her that she would make a great mayor or governor one day. I asked if she thought she might want to pursue that.

 “No,” she quickly replied.

 “Why not?” I asked.

 “Because I’m not that good of a liar,” she answered. I laughed at first, but soon realized it wasn’t so funny. And her words stuck with me.

 It’s one thing for adults to vocalize that most politicians don’t practice what they preach and can’t be trusted to keep their word, but it was something else entirely to hear that perspective emerge from a kid. There she was, young and ambitious, politically-engaged, and already turned off to the notion of running for office due to a lack of authenticity she had observed in the political arena.

 And the sad part was that she was mostly right.

 Politics is often a dirty game. And some say you have to play dirty to succeed. I don’t agree. And not because I’ve met a slew of authentic, reliable politicians who have been successful … but because every now and then, I meet one who stands out because he or she plays tough, not dirty.

 We live in the greatest country in the world, but we must demand more from our political leaders. We must hold them accountable for any do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do nonsense. We must support those who buck politics as usual. We must stop caring about the elite’s vision of what is or isn’t “presidential” and elect someone who can be counted on to deliver as promised and to stand firm on principle.

 I don’t want tomorrow’s potential leaders to become turned off to politics because they think it’s a phony game. I also don’t want them growing up thinking that in order to become a successful politician, one must play dirty.

 Some say we can’t change the system. And I say that’s nonsense. You change the system one piece at a time—one vote at a time—until you wind up with a brand new puzzle. You do it by choosing leaders who don’t flip-flop and have a solid record of keeping their word. You do it by electing those who genuinely stand for something, not crowd-pleasers who ultimately stand for nothing.

 And if the political leader who catches your eye doesn’t fit the mold of what some in the elite define as “presidential”—well, that just might be a good thing.

Read more articles by Jedediah Bila

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9 Comments on "Changing the System"

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Back in the day we had two parties and both parties worked for what they thought was the best for the nation. The polotitions were statesmen and handled themselves with decorum. To day the two parties only vie for party power and if anything good for the country comes out of it, it is a by product. Where are the Adley Stevensens of the past?

It is too bad to hear that from a 13 year old but she sounds like someone we will need to change things. Meanwhile we must as you say hold our Officials accountable

Glad to see someone as young as 13 has an interest in government. As a youngster, I did not. It wasn’t until 1992 that I truly took an interest in politics. Now, as years of frustration have passed, I am hoping for great changes to come in 2012. True leadership, with conservative values would win the day, if someone wants to grab the bull by the horns.

Time to change the system in 2012.

Wow! When I was young we believed in the government and the politicians. To hear that from someone at 13 years is a very sad sorry about what our government has turned into. Having said that, it’s also true in the business world and with many non-profit organizations. They say one thing and do the opposite. Instead of giving to NPs and politicians I put the money under my mattress.

It is a sad day for America when you think you have elected someone that will stand up for the good of the country, then fold like a umbrella on deficit reduction. It is not acceptable to believe that all politicians lie. I will try my best to vote every one of them out of office.

This is slightly tangential, but re: “Changing the system”, the only way to change it is if the public is motivated to do so.There won’t be change until the public truly gets how bad US finances are. The public yawns when it hears $trillions in debt thinking “big number, but its a big country”. since they have no perspective. We need to rephrase the issue: The federal government will need >$1 million per household to pay its IOUs! > $116 trillion =”official” debt plus money  short for future social security, medicare, etc Even its “official debt” of $14.2 trillion  is $123,754 per household! Details at http://StopNationalDebt.com with links to contact congress & complain. “POLL REVEALS: Americans Are Still In Deep Denial About The Deficit” http://read.bi/h6QDGR If they realized how bad it is politicians would need to act. Be among the first to join the Facebook “event’ “Balance the Budget NOW!… Read more »

Surprisingly, I have a couple of points of contention with this. Not surprisingly they’re rather minor. First, I just want to point out that “do as I say, not as I do” should not be confused with “do as I say, not as I did.” Too often the difference between the two is not recognized even though it can be very stark difference. One is hypocrisy, the other is a chance to learn from someone else’s mistakes. The other things is this: You should have gotten that girl a book about Ronald Reagan or George Washington. The truth is, even in this political climate, REAL leadership trumps BS every time.

True dat! My first memory of politics was when Nixon quit. I said something about ‘those awful republicans” and my Dad (blue dog) said, “no Dawnie he was just dumb enough to get caught” so I grew up not ever trusting them… any of them….. really – until Hillary then Sarah and now ONLY Sarah.

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