Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Time for changing of the guard?

Unlike the overhyped presidential election, where little actual disparity can be found between the likely candidates, a number of state and local races are putting a real choice before Georgia voters.

The upcoming primary election could be described as a contest between members of the old guard & their handpick successors and an emerging new guard. The old guard represents the familiar names, faces and policies of the incumbency. These are individuals who are experienced and well connected politically. They know how to close ranks when they perceive a threat to their influence, and are perfectly willing to call in mutually supporting favors from their fellow politicians.

When faced with a choice between power and principle, these leaders will generally choose what preserves their power. None of this should be construed as proof of evil intent on the part of the old guard; instead, it illustrates a common trait of human nature that power, once obtained, is a very difficult thing to let go.

The new guard can best be described as individuals who have recognized a need for leadership that is grounded in the principles of limited government and greater accountability to the people. To them, raw political power is less desirable than keeping government power within its correct boundaries.

Most of the new guard are newcomers to politics and are running for office out of a sense of public virtue rather than personal gain. Public virtue, in this sense, is synonymous with the concepts of service, self-sacrifice, and disinterestedness. It denotes a choice in which a person’s self interests are voluntarily put aside and sacrifices made for the benefit of society in general. In the case of the new guard, many of the candidates are stepping forward at considerable personal cost to serve where they recognize a need for more principled leadership.

Because many of the emerging new guard do not aspire to be career politicians, the old guard often dismisses them as idealistic and inexperienced. This is a mistake. The new guard candidates, in most cases, have devoted a great deal of time and effort to understanding the challenges and opportunities before us, as well as the foundational principles by which good government operates. This is something the old guard has, in many cases, forgotten.

Name recognition alone used to be sufficient to carry the day for the old guard, but the proliferation of readily available information combined with a growing sense of government overreach has prompted many voters to do their homework.

The old guard senses that a shift is taking place and is doing its best to protect its power from what it foolishly labels “radicals.” But a closer examination of what motivates these new guard candidates to run for office will reveal that, in many cases, we finally will have an actual choice in the coming election.

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