Fri., Oct. 25, 2002
A good man will try to do the right thing. He isn't in the game for self-aggrandizement. He genuinely cares about what he does and about those he serves. He wants to make things better. He can't always succeed at this, of course,, but he'll try. Such men are rare, indeed, in our politics, but if our politics are to have any future, it will be such men that will lead the way to it.
We won't always agree with a good man, of course. People of character
can and, in fact, will intevitably disagree on any number of things. And
anyone in politics, regardless of their character, is going to face a machine
that corrupts everything it touches. It will demand compromises from
the best. It will wring outright betrayals from most. While most of the
political class makes selling out a matter of routine, though, a good man
will resist the machine. He won't always succeed, and we'll chaff under
the betrayals, and we'll give him hell for them, as well, because if he
is a good man he can feel shame, and if he can be made to feel shame, he'll
more vigorously resist the machine in the future. Unlike most of the political
class, a good man is worth this effort.
Malevolent fate has left America shy a good man today. He'd engaged
the beast of politics and with some success in his final years. His record
wasn't perfect--it was far better than most. Our country and our politics
need such men, and we are a poorer nation for the loss of them.
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