It’s almost impossible to turn on the TV and not see a news program or talk show (both comedy and serious) reporting on or telling jokes about the recent shenanigans of our elected leaders in Congress.
I firmly believe that the vast majority of officials in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are good people. They are honest, hard-working citizens doing their best for the people they represent. They are doing their jobs to the best of their ability, which is why we rarely hear about them on the news or talk shows. I couldn’t even tell you most of their names.
Which leads me to what my mom (and many parents) used to say: “One bad apple can spoil the bunch.”
There are a few “bad apples” in our country’s leadership barrel, and they are the ones we hear about nonstop every day. They are the proven liars, conspiracy theorists and those engaging in outrageous, unacceptable and self-serving activities.
If our current circumstances have taught us anything, it is to really do our homework before casting our ballots.
This may leave some people to wonder how they got into office to begin with. For those who are savvy and smart enough, it’s easy to convince voters they are the best man or woman for the job.
By law, the only qualifications potential candidates for Congress must have are to be at least 25 years old, be a U.S. citizen for at least seven years (nine years for the U.S. Senate) and reside in the district they wish to represent. That’s it! They are not required to be college educated, produce any kind of resumé showing work history and experience, undergo any background check or provide any proof of aptitude or intelligence.
We must do better. If our current circumstances have taught us anything, it is to really do our homework before casting our ballots. There is no election coming up soon, but these people start campaigning early – so now is the time for us to get started, as well. Read articles, watch videos, and attend rallies and meet-the-candidate events. If you have questions, email the candidates and demand answers. If you don’t hear back from anyone, there’s your sign.
The media must do better, too. Give us in-depth interviews and information on the candidates and stop giving all your ink and air time to the bad apples. It may be good for your bottom line, but you’re doing readers and viewers a big disservice. It’s not funny anymore.
The bad apples love the attention they’re getting and thrive on it. In January, for example, the media camped out in front of the office of one man who somehow slipped into the House of Representatives. One morning, he brought reporters donuts and thanked them for all their hard work. What does that tell you?
Seriously, these officials make our laws, can declare war and decide how our hard-earned tax dollars are spent. We must do better.