While Brevard is blessed with many public servants- those who are elected to do a job and their goals are to actually perform the job to the best of their abilities. We see it in appointed officials as well. We also see the other side of the spectrum all too often.
It happens in American politics at every level. The politics and personal gain, either politically or financially, become the focus. The battles become personal as opposed to philosophical and the downward spiral begins. It happens to politicians of all stripes. It goes something like this:
THEY LIKE ME! It begins with election and the belief that being elected is a sign that the candidate is actually liked and appreciated. It's sure to be a good feeling.
THEY BELIEVE IN ME: For many the fundraising really ramps up. Congress has this dialing for dollars down to a science. It may have even started as the candidate began the run for office. Those donations are also self-affirming for the politician.
I MUST DO SOMETHING: Oops, suddenly people have expectations for me. The ones who voted for me and the ones who donated want different things. I must appease them all!
THEY ARE TAKING NOTICE: Now that I have taken action they are noticing. Who thought they would pay attention after the election?
WHAT, THEY DON'T ALL LOVE ME? How is this possible? They all loved me such a short time ago. How can they not now? Don't they see I am doing what they want?
THE DONORS HAVE A REQUEST: These people believed in me. They made it possible for me to win. I don't like the idea, but they were very good to my campaign.
ITS GOING TO TAKE MONEY TO BE REELECTED: And if I want to keep this job, having angered some, it will take even more money to win. OK, donors, what do you want?
NOW THAT I'VE SOLD MY SOUL: It was only one issue, people can't be mad about that can they? After all, it's about staying here to do what I said I would! I need donors to do that!
WHAT NOW THAT THE MEDIA IS TAKING NOTICE: Great, now the media is looking at all this. It isn't as bad as they say. I need to explain to them it isn't what they think. They are blaming me personally!
THEY HAVE IT ALL WRONG, BUT IF THEY HAVE MY NAME RIGHT...AND I CAN EXPLAIN HOW ITS GOOD: You see, this may look bad, but it's not. I go to church, don't beat my kids and I donate to charity. I help people.
WHAT, ME AND MY FAMILY BEING GOOD ISN'T THE ISSUE? What do you mean I didn't address the issue? The issue is my reputation that you are tearing down.
HOW CAN I TURN THIS AROUND? What to do, what to do? I think I have an idea!
TIME FOR NEW ACTIONS TO MAKE NE LOOK GOOD: I'll craft new laws that make us look accountable without really doing anything! After all, they are only voters and the media, what do they know of politics?
NO, THE SPOTLIGHT LOVES ME, I AM NOT LEAVING IT: People are saying these ideas aren't good. They say they are a distraction and I should not do them. I MUST do something or the situation gets blamed on me!
WHAT, EVEN THE MEDIA FROM MY PARTY IS CRITICIZING ME? MAYBE I CAN EXPLAIN IT TO THEM; AFTER ALL THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN HERE! It's not their political career on the line. How would they know what's best? I have to stand up to them. They are ruining my plan to fix my image!
NOW THEY ARE JUST PICKING ON ME: All I was trying to do was make us more accountable! Why are they saying I made mistakes? This isn't fair!!!
I'VE DONE NOTHING WRONG WHY ARE YOU CRITICIZING ME? It just isn't fair. I'm the good guy here and the media are being bullies! Why is everybody always picking on me?
I DIDN'T SIGN UP FOR THIS, I HAVE TO GET OUT: Oh, this politics stuff just isn't what I expected! I'm in over my head! How do I get out? How?
BEG THE MEDIA TO LAY OFF AND CLAIM A PERSONAL OR FAMILY EMERGENCY: Dear media friends (dammit, I hate calling them that, the vultures!), you have seen the situation at hand and can imagine the toll it's taken on the office and the government body, but there have been additional costs. For those reasons I need you to please leave me alone.
I NEED TIME TO HEAL: You see, I'm a good guy and my family and I are suffering because of the spotlight you are shining on the politics of all this. Never mind I didn't take good advice when it was offered. You have now inflicted harm on me and my family by showcasing the problems at issue. Please leave us alone. Time for healing is needed.
WATCH THE POLITICAL CAREER GO DOWN IN FLAMES: As the flames consume the remnants of the politician's career he stands by helplessly watching having never realized that honesty, contrition and being quiet as the situation settled itself would have been the more noble (and survivable) actions.
Let's hope as these lessons play out in front of us all that officials of future generations watch and learn in order that these situations are more limited in that future and that those representatives are more interested in service than acclaim and the spotlight that, when used for the wrong reasons, can be all too bright and all consuming.