It is often said that politicians are "just in it for the money", and when I hear that, I laugh to myself. It shows just how much those speakers don't know. Being an elected official is a 24 hour a day, seven day a week, 365 day a year job. I'm an elected official in my town. As an alderman, I make $85 per month. In case you are wondering, that translates to 11.6 cents an hour. I don't get any extra for being vice-mayor. That may seem like big money to you, but I can guarantee you I'm not in it for the money.
Being an elected official requires a committment to learning laws, ordinances, regulations, codes, and standards that often change on an annual basis. It requires staying current on all those changes and deciding how they affect your constituents and how you can make life better in the midst of whatever change is afoot. I just spent time this evening at a training session, listening to an update about recent changes in law, strategizing about how they affect my town, and arranging for community events that are scheduled in the coming months. The conversation around the tables was about our towns. We shared the good things in our towns, the problems, and those who had found solutions shared that, too. The room was filled with "politicians", and not one of them was there for the chicken and green beans.
I love my privacy and I really prefer for "my business" to stay "my business". Once I became an elected official, for good or bad, I became part of the "face" of my town. I'm a public representative of Blue Springs. That means that, if I do some good things for my town, I might get my picture in the paper or my face on TV. If I make a bad decision, however, it has a high likelihood of being a public bad decision. I cannot begin to tell you how much I fear making a mistake that goes public.
Being an elected official means that, when something goes wrong in your town, you are responsible. When a natural disaster happens in your community, you deal with it. 24/7/365. You take care of your community needs first and your own needs later. I remember a mayor attending a meeting just after Katrina in very casual attire. He was wearing the only clothes he now owned. He had worked non-stop for his town and wasn't stopping to go shopping for new clothes.
I know there are people who take advantage of their position for their own gain. There are people like that in every walk of life. Before you lump all politicians, all elected officials, in that category, I wish you'd stop and think about the thousands of local elected officials who genuinely want to make a difference, who want the best for their communities, and who work tirelessly to make that happen.
Before you grumble about politicians, there's something you should think about. Have you prayed for those politicians? Have you asked God to help them digest the mountain of information, make wise decisions, avoid the pitfalls? Proverbs tells us:
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)
That's right. God can do whatever He chooses with those in authority, and He often chooses to do it in response to your prayers! Even when those "crooked politicians" don't seem to be doing their part, be sure you are doing yours. Pray, and don't stop until God's will is done.