Politics are the time when men and women demonstrate their mettle for their fellow citizens, community, state or nation.
That’s my definition.
Sadly, I have seen too many times when those who are elected to serve do their own thing — with their own interests at heart or merely to gain re-election. “That’s politics,” I am told with a sigh.
My response: “That’s not how I see it.”
Ours is a country that has been one of labels from the beginning. Whigs, Democrats, Republicans, Federalists, Free Soil, Green, Libertarians … the list is longer than that; some come, others go, and their ideals have changed or evolved over the decades. For instance, Democrats once held the beliefs of Republicans and the latter were the liberals.
The label I detest the most is that of RINO (Republican In Name Only). These people are deemed traitors, people who call themselves Republicans but do not always vote the party line.
In recent days U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake has been called a RINO and much worse, in the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh Senate hearings for possible confirmation to the United States Supreme Court.
My take is Flake perfectly handled the situation involving the two women who confronted him in a Washington elevator Friday, telling him their views of his and others’ actions surrounding the hearings. He was quiet (only way to listen), and showed his character upon returning to the committee room: he called for the FBI to investigate the allegations and Kavanaugh before a floor vote takes place.
Some have called this window-dressing; a show to save face. I see it as Flake doing the right thing.
I believe though politics does not mean voting the party line only to suit the party. People who do that are not who I voted for; I want people representing me who do what’s right. Political science has always interested me. Though I cannot stand it at times now, I studied it in college and once thought I would someday end up a politician.
No, I don’t think I would survive — or I’d be a one-term wonder, because I would have to speak and vote my conscience.
Maybe that’s why Flake is not seeking re-election. And he is like McCain, someone the Far Right called the master of “playing both sides” (a compliment, as I see it).
Flake will be coming home (it’s not supposed to be a career) and what he has done is politics, or what it should be. He is no flake.
Tim Wiederaenders, a former Lake Havasu City resident, is senior news editor for the Prescott Daily Courier.