Huffpost Politics

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Stephen Gyllenhaal Headshot

Job Description: Servant of the People

Posted: Updated:

It sounds trite, even naïve. But it isn't. It's a brutal concept. It demands discipline, concentration, humility and courage. And honesty. Our leaders were supposed to be our servants. They were elected "to serve". We call it "service". It's one of the primary reasons our forefathers spilt all that blood. Not to mention they conceived that at some point each of us (who was at all capable and 99% of us are) was to set down the plow (or spread sheet) and for awhile do our duty to run that government that was doing all this serving.

I'm not claiming the thing ever worked perfectly, but who among us now even imagines that our representatives serve any of us that isn't a millionaire, billionaire or that new form of "people" (thanks to the Supreme Court) -- the corporations?

How did we get into this topsy-turvy house of mirrors? How do we get ourselves out? I think we have to start by more of us becoming those servants ourselves (the most realistic place to start is in local government). Are you unemployed; a student with no prospects? Are you working part time or retired?

Run for office. Or help someone you trust run. Why not?

And we have to stop getting sucked in by the media hype that anyone at the top is better than the rest of us. (Another reason our forefathers spilt so much blood -- hatred of royalty.) And being rich, famous, going to an Ivy League or figuring out how to bilk pension funds does NOT make you royalty. Being greedy and lying doesn't make you royalty. In fact nothing makes you special. A superior class was a lot of nonsense from the start and George Washington et al knew it.

Our leaders were meant to serve us. Plain and simple.

Otherwise throw 'em out. You have the vote. Or run yourself, but you better pay attention -- you're a servant to your neighbors, friends, enemies, relatives. No lavish parties (not at this moment in our Republic's tottering history). No limos with fluttering flags, no special Health Plans just for you. You're a servant and you'd better be prepared to risk everything (even your life) for those you serve.

And then, ironically, you just might make it to the pinnacle of what it is to be a citizen, a human being. You just might make it into the history books. Or not. It doesn't matter. You'll have done what's right and, frankly, that's all that counts.

Good luck.

To all of us.