We are better than this

It’s like a card trick: Pick an issue, any issue. Pick a Twitter account, any account that focuses on politics….and I can show you hyperbole, discord, anger, offensive accusations…etc. etc. Look, politicians are humans. They make mistakes. They say things wrong. They are afforded no leeway, however. Would we rather robots in office?

We make it outrageously expensive to run for office…then complain that only the rich run. We literally destroy people’s families and pick apart their personal lives as if they are a piece of meat thrown to wolves….and yet act surprised when only those bold enough to care little, if at all, about peoples’ opinions are the only ones willing to run. We complain, complain, and complain until we run out of light in the day…and then act surprised when our politicians become frustrated, tired of dealing with the discord, and those we often feel are most qualified to run, refuse. In many ways, Americans, we have gotten exactly what we’ve asked for – we get rich politicians who make policies for themselves, or that promote their personal agendas, and who are very disconnected from the rest of us living in regular society.

Now the right question: How do we attract the right people for the jobs? How do we do a better job recruiting for these positions? Because make no mistake about it, *WE* are the customers, the hiring agents, the recruiters. Ergo, *we* must take it upon ourselves to ensure we hire the right people for the positions that affect us all so much. But how??????

Simple: Recruit and hire people just like we would any other job.

Step 1: DEFINE the position. What does this position actually require? Running for office is not just a popularity contest – or at least it shouldn’t be. So what are the skills and experience needed to be an excellent politician?

Step 2: Seek out individuals that fit those descriptions. DO NOT simply wait to see who is available and willing – RECRUIT the top talent. Attract them. Mentor them. Encourage them.

Step 3: Determine what training, if any, that they need. No one goes into a job and doesn’t receive training, we should expect nothing different for our politicians. We need to help them learn the aspects that are specific to the position and those areas where they need personal skill support.

Step 4: Make the job enjoyable, desirable, and pay well. In what universe does someone want to take a job that pays low, is terribly stressful, involves negative feedback daily, and posts every part of your personal life on TV? Oh my word! No one wants a job like that! Instead, consider making this a worthwhile position that will attract more people than those that are self-serving and tough enough to withstand the horrible treatment we impose.

By no means am I saying all politicians are self-serving, self-promoting people. Rather, I’m saying that we act in ways that decrease the probability that the people most qualified will be willing to run. I’m also not saying all Americans treat politicians poorly. Many are treated very well by constituents. I’m simply saying that the issues that exist can be affected by our actions more than we give ourselves credit.

We are more powerful than we think….we must act like it.

Photo credits: Patrick Brinksman, Dmitry Rafushny, Aaron Tejedor

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