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Letter: Nation needs good people to stand up, run for office

Nation needs good people to stand up, run for office

After watching the very unpresidential-like debates recently, I can’t help but think of how we ended up with such lousy options from which to select our next president. In a biography of President John Adams by David McCullough, there is an excerpt of a letter written by John Adams to his son, Thomas, who was considering a run for public office at some level. His words were written a couple of centuries ago, but I feel that they are very relevant today.

He wrote: “Public business, my son, must always be done by somebody. It will be done by somebody or other. If wise men decline it, others will not; if honest men refuse it, others will not. A young man should weigh well his plans. Integrity should be preserved in all events, as essential to his happiness, through every stage of his existence. His first maxim then should be to place his honor out of reach of all men. In order to do this he must make it a rule never to become dependent on public employment for subsistence. Let him have a trade, a profession, a farm, a shop, something where he can honestly live, and then he may engage in public affairs, if invited, upon independent principles. My advice to my children is to maintain an independent character.”

His message is clear and pertains to officeholders at every level of government – city councilman and president alike. Are you a woman or man who feels that your elected leader is untrustworthy or just not smart? Are you honest? Are you wise? You don’t need to be a rocket scientist. Run for office! Make the changes that you feel need to be made, then, when your term ends, go back to your chosen profession. Then you may have the option to vote for another honest, wise person who follows your lead.

Mark V. McDonough


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