BY FRANK SALVATO – “Our country can not exist on the renunciation of the heroic souls of the past. Public service, from the action of the humblest voter to the most exalted office, can not be made a mere matter of hire and salary. The supporters of our institutions must be inspired by a more dominant motive than a conviction that their actions are going to be profitable. We can not lower our standards to what we think will pay, but we must raise them to what we think is right. It is only in that direction that we shall find true patriotism.” — Calvin Coolidge
There is a lot of talk about our politicians today. Some of what I hear is good but a majority of what I hear is awful, as in we’re pretty upset that our elected class has taken to making excuses for not executing the will of their constituents, abdicating their responsibilities only to position for re-election and bolster their political parties. This happens on both sides of the aisle so, no, this isn’t a hit piece on one party of the other. It is a request that elected members of both parties stop, just for a minute, and examine their motives. Just what is the purpose of government; what are you trying to achieve?
In the wake of all of the rancor that surrounded the debt ceiling debate and subsequent legislation – a piece of legislation only eclipsed in poor quality by the partisan posturing that preceded its enactment – one thing has become quite apparent: the United States federal government has moved completely away from “protecting and serving” the American people and has, instead, become an exercise in societal engineering and transformation.
It is an exercise in societal engineering because increasingly we see elected officials unmasked only to be found zealous ideologues hell-bent on making people believe what they believe. It is almost the exact opposite of what representative government is supposed to be. In a true representative government the elected officials actually represent his or her constituents; he or she stands to express the concerns, fears and intentions of those who he or she represents, thus the moniker “public servant.”
Today, this is exactly the opposite of what is happening. Today, as a majority of people scream that they do not want government interfering in the private sector with regard to health insurance, a zealous minority faction has brutally coerced our legislating bodies to acquiesce to their whim. In so many words, they have expressed to the American people that they know better than we; that we are too unsophisticated to understand the magnitude of their deep thinking and, therefore, our opinions are somehow less important than theirs.
Today, ideologues elected to public office through the power of promises they could never hope to deliver on, insist that because they – great thinkers that they believe themselves to be – view the disparity of wealth in our American society as being too broad that it is permissible to suspend the principles of a Capitalist economic system in order to institute wealth redistribution in the form of “free stuff” for the “less fortunate,” for the “poverty stricken” (as if it’s a disease), courtesy of extracting wealth from those who produce and work hard.
This is not the system of government that our Founders and Framers shed blood to create. It is very far from it. The government our Founders and Framers envisioned was one of service to country, not service to ideology. The government our Framers intended for us was one whose primary mission was that of equal opportunity and equal justice under the law, color and gender blind. The Founders and Framers believed that given the chance individuals would rise to the occasion of freedom and liberty to strive to advance. This system has been raped by opportunistic politicians who have replaced the gifts of freedom, liberty and opportunity with glad-handing bribery executed with literally stolen taxpayer dollars from the Treasury.
Our country has been hijacked by a small band of Progressive (read: Marxist and Socialist) ideological zealots and they are transforming our country into a Socialist Democracy right before our eyes, complete with trying to eliminate one of the most critical checks and balances – the Electoral College; a check and balance made to ensure that concentrated urban areas wouldn’t eliminate the rights of those outside urban areas. Yet the remaining compliment of elected politicians stand stupefied in cowardice to do the “unpopular” (so the mainstream media would have you believe) thing in standing up for what is right; for good government over politics. To watch this farce called representative government in today’s United States of America is to wish for the sting of ipecac syrup, it makes one so nauseous.
The only shining light, the one last hope of redemption for our country before we hit the abyss of full blown Socialism comes in the form of the TEA Party Movement and hard working, real Americans who understand the concept of service to community…service to country. Today, these true heroes, these real Americans, the doers – not the takers, are under siege by a thankless gaggle of putrid refuse who call them “racists” and “terrorists,” and why, because they dare to demand that government stop transforming the United States from a Constitutional Republic into a failed Socialist State; because they demand that the elected class of oligarchs stop spending our country into destitution.
At 3am on August 4, 2011, Rich Arling died. That name, I suspect, doesn’t mean a lot to most of you, but it means a great deal to me. Rich – or as his close friends referred to him, “Boogie” – was someone who served as a mentor to me when I was a young firefighter outside of Chicago. He became quite a bit more. He became one of my very dearest and closest friends, a “cohort in crime,” a true brother of the badge if not a brother period. We spent holidays and vacations together, had too many “firsts” to count and probably just as many “lasts.” And even though I am comforted that his cancer induced suffering has ended and he has been “called back to quarters” through the ring of the Ultimate Bell, I am devastated for his leaving. Truly, the world is a lesser place in his absence.
So, what is the significance of my sharing this event with you? It is this: Rich epitomized what a public servant should be. His entire life was spent in the service of the people he protected and instead of putting an ideology or a union or a political faction between himself and the people he served, he became friends with the people he served, he lived among the people he served and he grew to love the people he served. Because he gave himself, through public service and through true and honest – sometimes brutally so – friendship, the community not only respected him, they grew to call him friend. Today, the whole of the community that Rich served – that “Boogie” served – is in mourning.
My old partner – now the fire chief of the department that we served – Tom “Boomer” McEllin (yes, it’s true all firefighters have nicknames), reminded us all of something that was said at Rich’s retirement party,
“Rich was always there for us, and not just ‘us’ but for most of the people he encountered – other employees, contractors, residents, etc. – because he really truly cared about people. He knew this village probably better than most of the people that live and work here. He shared his history and knowledge with all of us. The village is part of what Rich was and I believe that Rich is part of what the village will always be.”
How many elected politicians can we honestly say that about? I put it to you very, very few. Why is this, because most politicians have no capacity to “serve” or “protect,” they only know how to take. This, my friends, is a fundamental reason why our country is in so much trouble.
On a personal note to Rich’s family, friends and especially to his wife, Joyce: I am truly, truly sorry for your loss. The world is a lesser place with his ascension and I am less one true friend.
God speed, Boogie.