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OPINION: Why I pity the politician
Opinion
This is an article of the writer's opinion, and they may not reflect our views. To send a letter to the editor, go to https://www.forsythnews.com/contact-us/submit-letter-editor/.

One of the great things about being a builder is that practically each day I can look back at some tangible difference made in the world. I can visit projects built over 30 years ago.  They are still there, each making a mark on the earth, providing evidence that we were there and accomplished something. 

 That is why I pity the politician. His (or her) accomplishments are rarely tangible, and when they are it’s normally starting a war to destroy things others like me built. When the spouse asks, “What did you do today?” it must be difficult to recall an entire day that God provided, day after day, and have nothing to remember as a true accomplishment. “Well, let’s see … I spoke to Mrs. so-and-so. I gave a speech at so-and-so. I cut a ribbon at so-and-so…” I’m sorry, but that cannot be a very fulfilling day. The emptiness must be overwhelming.

 I’ve studied all this for a while, finally arriving at the judgement that over time, politicians by and large develop a fatal flaw.  The emotional emptiness they must feel due to a lack of palpable accomplishment inevitably drives a craving to fill that void.  That longing manifests as an insatiable desire for popularity and power. And it is that unquenchable thirst that drives the consummate politician each waking moment of every day.

 “Oh, but he ‘just wants to serve people.’” Don’t be fooled. Offering that idiom to anyone who will hear is just another weapon in an arsenal of deceits designed to increase his popularity. And, generally, the more popular he becomes, the more powerful he becomes, fulfilling his primal urge. So it is practically a personality defect to want to be a professional politician. There are very few in elected office who are there for the right reasons.  Yes, there are some… but a cherished few.

 That brings us to the political party. “Party” sounds fun, doesn’t it?  Yes, let’s have a “party.”  We can sell tickets. And we can invite politicians to speak. Surely they will come, because doing so will increase their popularity and power. And we can charge money, pay the politicians a portion and keep the rest for ourselves. And we can use it to support other politicians who will help us to become popular and powerful, too!

 In the end, friends, what have they really accomplished?

So, last weekend a very popular politician, South Carolina U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy, was invited to speak at a local political party. Don’t get me wrong. Just because I’m critical, that doesn’t mean I don’t like these folks. I like them all very much. But I just have to tell the truth. Truth is unpopular, which is why politicians lie and why I won’t be a politician, but I digress.

They bring in Trey because he is much more popular than any local office-holder of his rank.  Popularity brings people, people bring money and money brings power, just so we all understand. Trey is so popular that even 9th District U.S. Rep. Doug Collins condescended to venture into Forsyth County, for once, half of which is in his district, just to hear him speak, or perhaps to protect his turf.

Now, the reason Trey is so popular is because in the past he has ably seized various opportunities to offer rhetorical observations during well-publicized occasions by means of piercing remarks so closely echoing the discontentments of certain grand segments of the population, that when he has given voice to their concerns, a practically cathartic reaction has welled from within them, satisfying emotional desires long-deprived, well beyond the powers that any real, tangible accomplishment might ever produce. 

“Boy, Trey sure let so-and-so have it yesterday.” 

“Yeah, buddy. Gave him both barrels, didn’t he?”

But in the end, friends, what have all those camera moments accomplished?  Has Lois Lerner been punished? Do we know what happened at Benghazi? Did Hillary get what was coming to her? How about Eric Holder? Still in contempt of Congress? Fast and Furious? where did that go? Director Comey? He’s home writing a book. So what is the tangible result of any of that?  Nothing, friends.

Now in Trey’s defense, at least he says something. At least he is combative against those who have made a mockery of our country and American government. Where’s our own 7th District Representative in all this?  

Why can’t Rob Woodall fill the seats at a local GOP gala? Why is Rob just the host rather than the main event?  

And, while I’m at it, why aren’t any of those professional talkers, Trey, Rob or Doug, using their rhetorical skills to condemn the deep state, the leftists and MSM who relentlessly attack our president in inexcusable ways for crimes they themselves commit? 

I’m sorry, but if your only accomplishment during the course of a day is speaking, at least speak what needs to be said.  Because after all the hearings, the camera moments, after all the adulation, in a certain respect I’m almost like Hillary when she snapped during open testimony, begging the question, “What difference at this point does it make?” 


Hank Sullivan is a Forsyth County resident, businessman, author and speaker on American history, economics and geopolitics.