Today there is a focus on the “Citizen Politician” with the rise in the polls of Donald Trump and Ben Carson – the “political outsiders.” You can see them as the solution to a country on the wrong track or just another part of the problem; but each time I hear media expressions of shock at the how these “outsiders” could possibly be the front-runners, I am reminded of a story my Dad shared with us as kids. I talk politics with my Dad a lot. He is one of the “greatest generation” and brings a perspective looking at nearly 90 years of change. You can agree or disagree with him too, but you really do need to at least listen 😉
Anyway, if you know the history of Davy Crocket, you know he went on to a career as a politician after starring in numerous movies and TV shows (joking). There is a story that conservative’s favor where Mr. Crocket describes learning a lesson from Horatio Bunce – a farmer who’s vote candidate Crocket wished to garner. The story is entitled “Not Your’s to Give” and I would challenge anyone curious about revolting against politicians, citizen outrage, and the role of the media in the equation to have a look at this story. Whether or not you agree with the lesson Davy Crocket takes away, the interaction would seem to be an example of why we feel betrayed by politicians – but in this case something actually came of the quiet protest.
If you are interested enough to read the article, see if you don’t see some basic principles at work:
- A media that publishes unbiased source materials that enable the public to make their own decisions
- A public that invests the time to evaluate those unbiased source materials to reward behaviors that align with their own core principles and stop those that do not
- A politician that actively listens to the public and considers the public’s feedback (even if it was initially only to get a vote – OK some things don’t change)
As the theme of my blog is unintended consequences, perhaps we are suffering from the Unintended Consequences of the erosion of these tenants of freedom.