A Career in Congress?

A U.S. Senator in Utah — a Republican — recently lost his bid for renomination. He was beat in the Republican nomination process by an opponent who actually claimed to be more of a … well, a Republican. Imagine that. In his concession speech, the three-term Senator bemoaned the loss of his “career.” Now there’s an interesting moment. I thought that our representatives in Congress were supposed to be citizen-legislators. I didn’t know office holding was supposed to be a career. The whole notion of limited government, originally in the United States, was supposed to be that of elected representatives helping the government perform competently for a limited time, and then going home. It was about preservation of a strong, limited government for self and others — not about career fulfillment. George Washington, James Madison, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson got their career fulfillment from agriculture, science, business and intellectual pursuits — not from holding power. How true is that of any of today’s elected officials? Government, I thought, was supposed to guarantee a free and safe society so that people can pursue happiness, including rewarding careers, in their own private lives. Instead, government has become a career end in itself — for conservative Republicans, no less, the supposed party of “limited government.” If this isn’t revealing of what has gone so horribly wrong in America, then I don’t know what is. They wonder why there’s a “tea party” movement. To grasp exactly why, look no further than the Republicans themselves.