This I Believe

Jonathan - Oceanside, California
Entered on May 31, 2006

There was a time, not so long ago, when the political system in this country was based upon a noble battle of ideas, and a group of dedicated men and women came together in open debate and struggled to make this nation something incredible. Sometimes they achieved great things – the New Deal, civil rights, the Peace Corps. And sometimes they were wrong. But back then politics was based on something more than money and pandering – it was based on people, what they wanted, and the hope that this country could be so much more.

But now, things look much different. People don’t participate in government any more. And why should they? Watch the news, and our government looks like a hive of corruption, filled with petty cardboard cutouts that care more about corporate interests than the farmer in Kansas who can’t send his kids to college.

But I believe that if we look close enough, we might see that things really haven’t changed all that much. I know we live in cynical times. It’s not only fashionable to criticize all facets of our government, but in some cases it’s expected. But I believe that there is still good in our political system. Because if we cut through the mire of scandal and really look at government, the results are shocking.

I’ll give you an example. Mike Gravel was a senator from Alaska decades ago. Many people probably don’t know his name. He’s 76 years old. And he’s running for president. Now, at first this may seem laughable. But Senator Gravel isn’t running for political reasons. He’s running for president because he wants to fix social security. He wants every American to have health care. And he wants to reunite the divided nations of this world. Is it still humorous? Maybe. But I believe it’s admirable.

I also believe that there are more men and women like Mike Gravel. The people who run our government aren’t malevolent, aren’t puppets. They are regular people who want to change things. They have hopes and dreams. They’re the ones you don’t hear about on CNN or Fox News. They’re legislators who care about policy and set out each day searching for ways to make America better. And if our government does have bad apples, it’s not the system’s fault. It’s our fault for not stopping it. In the end, the responsibility lies with each and every one of us.

So I believe that our government and the people who run it are inherently good. And all we need to do is look a little closer to see it.