Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On Being an Elected Official

There has been so much hype recently about the Mississippi Republican Senate run-off that I am just grateful today was the day to vote. I am tired of this campaign. As a voter and as an elected official, I'm bothered by all the hype and the mudslinging.  I guess I see things a little differently from most candidates. 

The first time I ran for alderman in Blue Springs, I did it only because several people presented the need for help in preparing for the changes that the Wellspring Project would almost certainly bring, and pressed their case until I relented. I didn't want to do it. I had told God in no uncertain terms that I would do anything except politics, and I had reiterated my position to The Almighty on numerous occasions. He knew how I felt. It turned out that my refusal didn't matter much. As one of the elected officials explained the need, I realized it was a job I was uniquely equipped to do, and dread set in. I hate to admit it, but I cried and begged God not to make me do it. It didn't take long for me to see it was mine to do. That year, there were five positions and five candidates. I was elected by acclamation. 

The Wellspring Project evolved into Toyota Mississippi and tremendous change for Blue Springs. Suddenly, we needed a 25-year comprehensive plan, ordinances, building codes, subdivision regulations. The list seemed endless. We've had help every step of the way, but it's still been quite a bit of work. There was a tremendous amount to learn, and none of it had been covered in medical school. I took the Certified Municipal Official Course and learned as much as I could. 

It turns out that being an elected official is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 day a year job. At $85 per month, I make about 11 cents an hour, and now, in my third term, I would do it for free. Getting things accomplished takes what seems like forever, it's impossible to please everyone, and there is never enough money to do all I would like for our people. 

On the other hand, the nicest people in America live in Blue Springs. They also have the most sense of any people I know. Our citizens seem to understand that life requires give and take. We've always been able to work out our problems by talking it through and working together. There are no words to describe how much I love this sweet little town. 

I fully recognize that not every elected official would work for free and not every official considers their position a sacred trust, but I wish they did. Tomorrow, we will learn who won this round. In a few months, we will know who won the race. No matter who wins, the losing side will predict dire consequences and the winning side will predict amazing prosperity. It's likely neither one will get it quite right. 

There is one thing we need to remember. No matter who wins, there is One who has the final say. When we least expect it, He can intervene. When we most need it, He can  move. No matter who is elected. 

If you are worried about the future of our country and what the candidates will do, don't waste time grumbling and complaining. Talk to the One who is, ultimately and completely, in charge. His name won't be on the ballot, but He has more to do with our future than anyone whose name is listed there. 

"The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes." (Proverbs 21:1 NASB)