As much as we all complain about them, I have to wonder why in the world anyone would want a high profile government job.
Oh sure, there are a lot of perks; the pay’s not bad, bennies are great but so are the headaches, especially when things go bad.
With last week’s resignation of press secretary Jay Carney and Veterans Administration secretary Eric Shinseki, we really have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. Are these just the fall guys who get the blame for things beyond their control and are told when to fall on their swords or do they just reach a point where they just can’t take it anymore and just plain quit?
I’m not sure we really ever get the real behind-the-scenes story of what the conversations were and just how the spin was presented for public consumption. Remember, these high level Washington professionals have taken political and media spin to an all new level. They are so skilled at spinning, my guess is they can spin basketballs on all 10 toes, 10 fingers and one on the top of their head simultaneously. These folks are that good when it comes to spinning.
At times you just have to wonder what their definition of T-R-A-N-S-P-A-R-E-N-C-Y really is. To us it means things like “in clear view” and “easily understood.” To our government elected officials and political operatives I fear it means “whatever sounds believable” and “if they can’t see it, it’s because it is too transparent.” In other words, they have become so good at stealth and transparency it has become invisible to the American public.
What we can’t see, know or understand we can’t address, and if it can’t be seen or addressed then everyone in government gets to be left alone to get back to business as usual. Much like our forgotten veterans left on an invisible waiting list that didn’t exist. The vets couldn’t complain about a list they weren’t on because the list didn’t exist. Who knows how many other lists, stealthy projects or transparent orders are being undertaken by our government, on our behalf in the name of governing. I fear we will never know until it’s too late.
Who among us can question anything undertaken by the government these days? The media has turned a blind eye and if they do speak out they are minimized and ostracized, accused of having an evil agenda or called un-American or worst of all a racist. A term that we find used more frequently these days to quiet dissention. Another method used to distract and confuse if the issue does raise the media’s attention is to acknowledge the problem, condemn its practice, claim that you were unaware, and promise to get to the root of the problem. Then once the media and the public have moved on to another point of interest, the outrage blows over but little is resolved.
It’s really sad to be so cynical in this era of information and enlightenment. The process of governing and legal interpretation has created an environment of mistrust and misuse of power and authority to the point that we just don’t know who we can trust or who to believe. When in doubt you no longer listen to the spin and the only recourse is to demand accountability or be silent and give up, like so many of our veterans who gave up complaining and died silently.
Government shouldn’t be this way, but power and money can change even the best of us, which is why they shouldn’t be given so much money or power. Citizen legislators and even civil servants should have roots in the private sector and return there when their service is completed. These services should be regulated with limits – the same types of limits our government places on private enterprise when they fear it’s getting too big and monopolistic. Government understands regulatory controls. I wonder how they would feel if they were regulated?
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.