What visual images cascade through your mind when you think of a public servant?  Is it a fireman dashing into a burning building to save a helpless child?  Or is it a police officer protecting us from some ruthless criminal?  How about a soldier risking it all in sacrifice of one for the freedom of many?

In pondering that, were our elected officials scarce to your thoughts?

Webster’s defines “Public Servant” as a person holding a government office or job by election or appointment.  Civil service is further defined as branches of public service, concerned with governmental administrative function; a body of persons employed in those branches.  (Hmmm … that seems like such a cold definition for what a public servant should be, so wrong)

Does the thought of our elected officials cradling a compassion for decency, virtue, or a steadfastness for what’s upright and moral seem like a fantasy to you?  Well … you’re not alone.  The landscape of America is littered with poor souls craving such things from those who hold a cherished office.

To be sent to Washington by your peers isn’t like some movie anymore.  Jimmy Stewart was an actor, playing Mr. Smith, but many in DC aren’t just performing with a theatrical script.  A commentator recently claimed they’re worshiping “A Gospel of Wealth.”

That’s not to say there are those in the Capital who have a passion for the very fabric of what makes the United States such a great land.  But then there are those holding office who don’t have much in the way of moral dignity.  Those individuals hold the power of self in such high regard they’ve sacrificed their esteem.

Government should be fashioned toward what’s utterly honest and open, unintrusive, right and true, yet that’s a utopia one may never see but can only hope for.

Someone once said: “Absolute power can absolutely corrupt.”  That brings me to the thought of what a leader really can be.  One can be a trustworthy king, one loved by the people, or a president, high-ranking official, who realizes they’ve been given such a sacred stake in life they don’t dare tarnish it.  But with power evil whispers can taint one’s thoughts and with it all else.

When does one cross the line to sacrifice it all for the love of money and the power it so delusionally holds?

Not long ago, the North Korean dictator Kim Jong II died.  He had a reputation for being undisciplined and impulsive, a hard partying womanizer and lover of gourmet food, Cuban cigars, Cognac, and fast cars.

When Kim Jong II was elevated to power in the 1980s, a piece appeared in the State newspaper which said: “People of the world, if you’re looking for miracles come to Korea.”  The pre-Christmas editorial said: ”Christians, don’t go to Jerusalem.  Come rather to Korea.  Don’t believe in God.  Believe in a great man.”

Yet, the average North Korean earns but a dollar a day and in the mid-to-late 1990’s nearly 2 million died from famine.

Kim Jong II could have been an admirable leader, but the choices made by a man or woman, no matter their stay in life, are a steadying mast of distinction others will despise or admire – what does one gain to have the world yet lose a soul?

The Obamas haven’t evaded scrutiny either when it comes to living a lavish lifestyle on the other guy’s dime, like spending millions of dollars on the many vacations they’ve taken in the last seven years.  The President’s golf trips alone are over a hundred since he’s been in office.  It’s been noted Mrs. Obama has a taste for expensive clothes and jewelry as well.  The dollar amount incurred by taxpayers for the first family’s pleasures is staggering!

When most Americans are hurting and hold out little hope for a bright tomorrow, with millions of jobs lost, unemployment unacceptably high, home foreclosures at an all-time high, record food stamp usage and so much more, the peering eyes of the public are upon public servants.

Keep in mind politicians are supposed to be public servants, not task masters.  According to the Constitution, the constituency of the land is the head and not the tail – it’s our inalienable right, endowed by the Creator, to weed out those who unscrupulously toss the values of being American so recklessly aside.

A dose of those with a servant’s heart is what the country oh so desperately longs for.

Greg Allen’s column, Thinkin’ Out Loud, was published bi-monthly from 2009 to 2017.  He’s an author, a former nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit Ministries in Jamestown, Indiana.  He can be reached at www.builderofthespirit.org.


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