Allen B. West

What kind of government do you deserve?

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I so enjoy my Saturday morning run along Juno-Jupiter beach as a time of reflection and sharing with others who are dedicated to personal fitness. Today was no exception, and as an added treat, I was joined this morning by local congressional candidate Ellen Andel, a superior runner, and someone I personally support.

As we ran, Ms. Andel took the time to chat with me about her race and some of the struggles she is encountering. As I was trying to keep up with her pace, I asked that she stop talking and allow me to get some oxygen.

However, as I was panting along the 6.5 mile run I thought about her aforementioned struggles to gain support as a local town council member, a wife, mother of two, and just a simple person seeking to make a better America for her daughters. It was Benjamin Franklin who mused, “sometimes you get the government you want, other times you get the government you deserve.”

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We the people so often talk about the dysfunction of government — especially at the federal level — and the corruption of our elected officials. But are we the ones to blame? So often I hear the question posed, “why would anyone want to be involved in politics or run for office?”

Well, it comes back to a simple maxim put forth by Plato, “those who refuse to participate in politics shall be governed by their inferiors.”

It’s hard for good people to run for office because we continue to reward the most abhorrent behavior. Why is it that former President Bill Clinton is lauded as some esteemed American statesman, when we consider the despicable act he committed in the Oval office, and his subsequent lie to that effect?

Why is it that President Obama can say something over 30 times, that it appears he was fully aware was not true, yet we are told he “misspoke” — rather than he lied?

How can it be that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can have a US Ambassador murdered on her watch, give an emotional rant before a Senate hearing dismissing the cause of death as not making any difference, and there are bumper stickers made up for her to be the next president?

We the people get the government we deserve because we have so lowered the standards of character that the most disgusting behavior — which we would not accept from our own children (or maybe some do) — is now acceptable.

Just this past week Florida Republican Congressman Trey Radel was arrested on cocaine possession charges. In a late night press conference, Rep. Radel stated he would be taking a leave of absence in order to get treatment for a substance abuse problem. My question is, “are you seeking the treatment assistance because you got caught, because you really want help, or because want to keep your elected position”?

As a Christian I do believe in redemption because we are human and not perfect. I also strongly believe in a sense of morality of character and standards of leadership, which comes from my years of service in the military. Let us not forget the part that a complicit media plays, one that is not objective whatsoever and viciously attacks the character of individuals — often the good ones.

We the people have allowed these individuals who hide behind their perceived “power of the pen” to destroy the lives of honorable men and women, just because they have decided who they like or dislike.

We the people have allowed a system of political elitism to take hold in our America. It is an elitism that says laws we create apply to you, but not to us.

As a Member of Congress I chose not to play the political game of hiring a lobbyist to advocate my position during the redistricting process in Florida back in 2012. For me, it was about serving the people and not about establishing my own selfish service, and yes, a super majority in the Florida House and Senate redistricted me.

There were maps submitted by citizens that would have met all established legal standards but were not considered — funny how others had their districts strengthened, Republican and Democrat.

That is the way the game is played and I get it, but that is why we get the government we deserve — and why I do believe in term limits. You see, our Founding Fathers never wanted a career-oriented political class of elites. It was George Mason in June 1788 at the Virginia ratifying convention who stated, “nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents than the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people from whence he came where he must participate in their burdens.”

So ask yourself this day, and every day forward, not just what kind of government you want, but what kind do you deserve? If you properly answer that question, then perhaps you’ll elect those who will serve We the People, and not those who will lie, tell you what you want to hear, and manipulate in order to have you serve them.

It’s perplexing why a goodhearted person like an Ellen Andel struggles for support while we flock to those who seek only their own self-gratification. Look about you America and find your own version of Ellen Andel. Just be advised, don’t go on a fast paced 6.5 mile run with them — got my arse handed to me this morning.

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