To the editor:
We hear a phrase all the time: “Good government.” It often appears in the words of a politician claiming that just one more project or one more line item will solve all of our problems.
Many who have lived through these promises of change know the hard truth: Words and promises only get you so far.
Good government in its truest form has a deeper meaning: It is the idea that those who are elected understand that they are merely custodians put in charge by the people to oversee the people’s government.
At the core of that mission must be a deep commitment to the service of constituents; listening to every concern and doing what you can to bring about positive change is the top responsibility for those who participate in government.
When I became chairman of the Board of Selectmen in Rowley, I realized the deep responsibility of governing. Your actions can lift the town or plunge the town’s good name into the dust.
One thing I have tried to do, especially in this poisoned political atmosphere at the national level, has been to try and not let this climate affect local politics. I have looked to George Washington in his farewell address when he warned the new nation about factions.
“Let me now take a more comprehensive view and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally,” Washington wrote. “This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind.”
When reading these words, I feel as if Gen. Washington was looking down through the centuries to our present day. Seeing national politicians in both parties bicker, sow false hope, and pursue self-interest is exactly what he warned would happen. We must never forget that our politicians, at their core, must be public servants – there for others, not for themselves.
As I grow older, the grandfather in me worries about the poisonous politics of division. All of us are guardians of our nation’s promise and liberty. We are caretakers of our fragile democracy.
Holding fast to this mission of preserving our democracy and serving other people will be so important. Our children and grandchildren will listen to our words, and they are learning from our actions. If we are to pursue good government, we must give our posterity a real example of it.
The letter writer is a Republican candidate for state representative.