All of us in TV have egos but when it comes to politicians, we take a back seat.
Big egos and politics go hand in hand for many building their lives around improving their own self-image is a way of life.
Don’t get me wrong, a little bit of swagger is often essential to holding a powerful position. After all, the most popular politician in the world today, former President Bill Clinton, didn’t achieve his current status without a healthy dose of self-confidence. And more topical, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has found a unique voice that is brash and in your face, but also confidence inspiring.
But have we provided a platform for some egos to grow unchecked and out of control, only to make a mockery out of our democracy? Take the last week of headlines for example.
Anthony Weiner, or as some women might know him, Carlos Danger, a guy who spent more than 12 years in Congress. And what does he have to show for it? Well, Weiner himself will tell you about the “lone bill,” yes lone as in one bill, in 12 years, for which he was the lead sponsor.
Yet here he is, engulfed in another scandal during his second run for New York City mayor, and still unwilling to suspend his campaign. Meanwhile, his staff is quitting, and major publications, including the New York Times editorial board, have urged him to call it quits.
It couldn’t be more clear that his motives are all about him, not about the people of New York City. And at this point he’s only making a fool of himself, the election and the Democratic Party.
I wish I could stop there.
Next up, we have Donald Trump—a guy that seems to consider running for president any time there’s an election. Just last week he confirmed to the National Review that he is AGAIN considering a run in 2016. How many times are we going to let this man stroke his own ego by talking about a run that we all know will never materialize?
Both of these men are abusing and embarrassing our democracy, all for their own selfish gain.
And unfortunately many of these outsized egos have spilled into the halls of Congress.
For many of these lawmakers, growing their own ego implies putting themselves above another. And we all know that ones ego only gains strength by being smarter, wiser, and more politically powerful. Sound familiar?
Well that’s great and all, but where do these egos leave us? Oh yeah, with the least productive and least popular Congress in history. Take the latest NBC/WSJ poll, for example, that has 83% of Americans now disapproving of the job they’re doing.
So isn’t it these growing egos that have contributed to an inability to pass important pieces of legislation, like immigration, or meaningful tax reform?
The last thing we need are more egos running for political office. We need public servants, willing to put the American people first. We need public servants who are able to see the bigger picture, whether it’s listening to and respecting an opposing view point, or recognizing when it’s the right time to step out of a race.
Until then, egos will continue to prevail and our democracy will suffer. After all, public service was never intended to be about promoting one’s self.