This is not unheard of for me, especially in local elections. I live in a very Republican area and have lived in the same county most of my life. Often there is a person running for a certain county leadership position that I have known for years and know is a great person with a servant’s heart. When that kind of person is up for election, I cast a vote for them no matter which party’s ballot I have to choose.
On a national scale this is more rare. The last time I voted Republican for a national election was when I cast my vote for Saxby Chambliss, one of our state’s senators, a few years back. I voted for Senator Chambliss not because he was Republican, but because his office was of great help to our family in navigating the slow bureaucratic clog known as the US Immigration Office during our process to adopt our infant daughter from China.
During that process, I discovered though I didn’t agree with all of Senator Chambliss’ policy choices, I admired his love of Georgia, its people, and his commitment to do all he could to help the people of his state.
When I remembered back to voting for Senator Chambliss today, I remembered how I thought of him as a true public servant.
Public Servant. That word means something to me.
You see, I grew up with a dad who was a city politician. More specifically, this means that I grew up with a dad who answered the phone every night during dinner to listen to someone tell him about the problem with their trash service, their need to be on city water, or just the latest thing council did that ticked them off. I grew up being stopped in the grocery store for half an hour at the time while my dad listened to the troubles of other people and listened for how he might help them.
I grew up with a plaque in our living room that detailed how my dad swore to uphold the constitution of the United States and to faithfully fulfill the duties of the office of city councilman. My friends would sometimes giggle at this oath as a piece of our family decor. I never giggled. Because I knew what fulfilling the duties of office of city councilman looked like and how much of a sacrifice that was for my dad and our family.
Because my dad was a true public servant. He loves his city (and county and state and country). He loved his city and its people so much he was willing to spend his life working for their good. Even when it came at great personal sacrifice.
That my friends is my definition of a public servant: When you are willing to sacrifice your own personal good to work for the betterment of your country and its people.
As I went to vote yesterday, I found myself quite sad. I wondered, where have the public servants gone? Why are our ballots filled with people who talk about themselves, or negatively about their opponent, instead of talking about what they can do for their country? I am literally in tears as I ponder this.
For I remember days when people of different party names worked together for the good of all. They laid aside their pride and ego and did what needed to be done. Heck, I even remember days when people of other parties were actually friends at the end of the day.
And yes, I cherish these memories of growing up in the larger world of politics (sort of), but I also grieve for the loss of people who valued our nation above their party or themselves.
So today I cross the party lines again. But this time it is not to vote for a public servant I have come to love. It is to vote against someone I have come to fear. Someone who doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word servant. I will vote for a party opponent of this candidate that seems to have a least a clue of what is means to serve your country and its people.
And then I will pray for some revival of servanthood to come upon all our elected candidates. That they would return to the days of thinking of the greater good instead of their party or themselves. I will pray for days when people work together and form bonds instead of throwing insults and sabotages each other’s way.
Heck, maybe I’ll even stick one of those pray for our nation signs up in my yard. For on days like today, that is about all I know to do.
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