Thursday, December 29, 2011

The domestic help

The concept of public service in America receives little attention these days. We’re firmly in the election swing, the swift current of current information headed down a sluice near you, should you choose to wade in, weigh-in, watch, listen, and read. We’ll watch the cavalcade of Republican candidates participate in their reality-TV version of Survivor. The President waits patiently, to face the last person voted off the island.

The President’s re-election bank accounts grow; a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, promissory notes, and lunch appointments. I have met a few people who received their Obama Christmas card. Not the White House version, but the “hey thanks for the contribution” season’s greetings. We all can’t afford to have lunch with Obama, right?

Is there such a concept any more as public service? We should perhaps give the phrase an honorable burial.

We now hire the domestic help. Yet, the domestic help does not act anywhere near a subservient serf. We do not need serfs. We need skilled stewards.

Stewards do not have as their primary objective “to get re-elected”. Stewards do not bend to the influence that money brings. Stewards know that it’s “not about them”.

What makes stewardship so difficult these days in America is that we have a blurred concept of what it is we’re “stewarding”.

People have opinions but we seem to disagree if we do have an idea about the nature of what needs care, protection, and nurturing. Some see the support and defense of the Constitution as the object of our national affection. Some feel the citizenry deserves stewarding. Many feel we need no stewards at all. A growing number of people see government as a dimming anachronism, slowly being replaced with corporate compliance and that ethereal concept of globalism. Coming to a consensus upon who deserves the stewardship is complex too; all those rules of citizenship (a hot debate topic).

We’re in the process of hiring new…what should we call them? I’m not sure. But they’re not servants, stewards, and they certainly haven’t shown themselves to be helpful of late. But, we're definitely hiring...

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