November 25, 2022

We must hold our political candidates to higher standards | Columnists


Sam Houston is the publisher of the Hood County News. He is also an actor, author, playwright, performer and entertainment producer/promoter.

I was an impressionable kid during the space race. It was a period unlike any other period I have experienced in my life. Americans were fascinated and united in their goal of reaching the moon and doing it before anyone else.

The space race has shown our ingenuity, our competitive spirit and the great American will to explore and conquer new lands. In elementary school, we learned the names of all the astronauts from the Gemini and Apollo programs and these men were all revered as national heroes.

Imagine if you will, the career of John Glenn. He flew 57 missions during World War II as a Marine fighter pilot. He flew 63 missions in Korea as a jet pilot. He received several Distinguished Flying Crosses and a long list of Meritorious Service Citations. In 1962, he was the first American astronaut to circumnavigate the globe.

He finally returned to space at the age of 67 to participate in a space shuttle mission and became the oldest astronaut in history. John Glenn is a legend, a true American hero, and the type of person our youth and our nation should aspire to emulate. We should see these types of people running for office.

These days, instead of being famous for their great accomplishments and service to others, people are famous for “being famous.” It is sometimes called the Kardashian effect; people don’t have singular accomplishments but have created a following using social media and outrageous behavior.

In the case of politicians, instead of specific plans to govern, they win support by being louder and angrier than their opponents and by criticizing rather than offering solutions. For these candidates, there is no two sides to a problem, no compromise, no spirit of bipartisanship in the hope of finding a solution. There is only “my side” and “the enemy”. Civility is out the window. Heck, even people from the same political party can’t agree on what their party stands for.

Some candidates try to win votes by implying that they are tougher, tougher, and more conservative or liberal (you pick a side) than all the other candidates. I have even heard candidates imply that they were Following “Christian” than another job seeker. This type of behavior does nothing to promote good governance or a competitive election, it simply works to divide people, including members of the same party. Above all, it prevents people from focusing on the real issues.

When you hear from candidates this election cycle, remember that “Kardashian effect.” I hope any reasonable person would agree that we need office holders who want to solve problems.

If a candidate can’t tell you their plan and have answers to the issues we face, be skeptical. Be critical of what a candidate says and ask questions. Go to the candidate forums and get informed. Governing is difficult and a real challenge. Hood County is going to face great challenges over the next few years and we need responsible and capable leadership. We don’t need the Kardashians.

Thought for the day: The difference between a politician and a statesman is that politicians worry about their next election, a statesman worries about the next generation.

Until next time

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