07/31/08 — Anyone there? Perhaps the problem is, there are too many politicians

View Archive

Anyone there? Perhaps the problem is, there are too many politicians

After a bit of a flurry at the end, the North Carolina General Assembly's latest gathering ended with a thud -- and once again local lawmakers are back at home, with another session under their belts.

Yes, there is a budget -- and while no one is completely happy, there is at least a state spending plan.

And yes everybody talked about the need to scale back a bit, since taxes aren't coming in like they used to.

And then there were some new laws passed -- some of which will be very positive changes.

But now that the session is over, it seems like there has been an awful lot of talking, arguing and voting for not all that much accomplishment.

And that is the nature of modern politics. It takes so long to wade through the bureaucracy and egos that in the end there really isn't that much of a list of monumental, earth-shattering, life-changing leadership.

And lest you think it is just at the state level, think about the federal lawmakers. They spend even more time arguing and posturing -- sometimes for even less result.

There have been many people talking about how to make politics more efficient and less susceptible to manipulation and unhealthy ethical relationships.

The solutions proposed have included everything from campaign finance reform to term limits -- both of which have their pros and cons.

But perhaps the problem with politics and politicians is that the game has been the same for so long. The personnel might change, but the ways of Washington are much the same now as they have been for decades, even for those who enter the field determined to operate differently. And that same "good old boy" way has also seeped into state politics, creating too many long-term officeholders with too many strings and obligations to supporters.

And then again, maybe politics has become too much of a career for too many people. Maybe the days of people who entered public service to actually serve the public are over. Maybe there are too many politicians in politics these days.

No matter what, changing a culture doesn't happen overnight, but it does start with the rest of us paying a little closer attention to what goes on in our statehouse and our Congress.

Perhaps if we are a little more demanding -- and a little more interested -- there might be a way to get the kind of leadership we need and deserve, not just from a select few, but across the board.

Published in Editorials on July 31, 2008 11:23 AM