NOTE: I’ve never re-run a column before. But, in view of our current electoral struggles, the message in this one, from two years ago, bears repeating.

There’s an ad theme running in nearly all media each election year that’s infuriating and absurd. We’re hearing it now even though it’s pure political doublespeak and, on examination, absolutely idiotic. But we get it each election; local, state or national. This time, coupled with understandable, but dangerous short-term voter anger, it may trade personal satisfaction for long-term national disaster.

The baseless claim goes like this: “Elect me because I’m not a politician. We don’t need more politicians.” This message can tout someone who wants to be governor of our fair state, one of our members of congress, county commissioner, mayor, city council and other political office chasers.

The subliminal message you’re supposed to hear is “politics is bad, those who practice it are bad people and government is ineffective and a burden to you because of too many politicians.”

Now if you buy into that, I have a suggestion for you. Have your next surgery performed by someone who works in fast food. Try flying at 30,000 feet with a pilot who’s never flown before. Have your teeth fixed by a furnace installer.

Put in that light, the claim doesn’t make much sense, does it? That’s because, in every other area of our lives, we seek out the most competent, most experienced people in whom to entrust our lives and safety.

But these office-chasing wannabees keep coming at us, saying, “I want to fly your airplane though I’m not a pilot. Your problem is you are flying with too many pilots. Give me the controls and you relax.” Yeah. And look at the mess we’re in. I submit the largest single problem with politics in our state and nation today is we’ve elected too many non-politicians in too many places.

Politics is an old and, when practiced by professionals, effective and quite honorable craft. When in the hands of a Lincoln, Roosevelt, Goldwater, Humphrey, Nunn, Reagan, Truman, Dirksen, Franklin, Adams, Morse, Church, Hatfield, McCall and some other well-qualified politicians, this nation has prospered and our government has functioned very well.

The basic tools of give-and-take debate, legislative craftsmanship and compromise in the hands of professionals brought us through wars, created prosperity, assured the vote, created jobs, enabled astounding advances in health care, space exploration and mind-boggling technology. Even leveled the civil rights playing field.

What we’ve suffered of late is putting the levers of government at all levels in the hands of too many ideologue-driven amateurs who don’t understand how to use them and never should have been allowed near them. We’ve been conned by voices who have attached their egos and job ambitions to positions of authority never designed for either. We’ve elected a lot of political vagrants who’ve practiced self-interest and phony single-issue morality in an arena not intended for such.

Apply this to a political issue of great Northwest importance. There are 18 counties in Oregon desperate for continued extension of federal O&C funding for schools, law enforcement and jobs. Who stands the best chance of success on this crucial issue: a 12 term member of the majority or a freshman member of either party who advocates getting rid of federal dealings in Oregon? Be clear: I’m not advocating anyone’s candidacy. But, in Western Oregon, this is a life-and-death situation that makes the point. How many jobs, families and whole communities are directly affected by just this one terribly important issue? And there are many others.

From the White House to the court house to city hall, we’ve become a politically divided and fractured nation at the hands of people who are non-politicians. They are a noisy, non-professional, ideologically-driven minority that we’ve allowed to do surgery, fly the airplane and pull the teeth.

If we are to exorcize this rancor and division that’s costing us national treasure, human resources and even lives, we need to fill government from top to bottom with men and women who ARE politicians in the finest sense of the word: people who can compromise. We’ve already got some. But we need more!

We are desperately in need of professional politicians who can separate the true mission of government from bigotry, impossible fringe thinking, self-service and single issue divisiveness that have become too common. We need people wise enough to identify areas lawfully within the role of government and who are mentally equipped to execute those duties.

Elect a non-politician? Not on your inflamed appendix!

One Response to “The high price of electing too many non-politicians”

  1. Norm Gunning Says:

    Mr Rainey I agree with you completely. – Norm in Beaverton