Last night I met with a good friend.
He has been a sometime political candidate but has never held public office. I have had, and do have, a great deal of faith in his abilities in that regard. But I got the message, if not loudly, clearly, that he probably won’t run again.
As he well pointed out his prime earning years are the next twenty and if he is to ‘have a life’ it had better be now.
I completely understood. In fact I had, as his friend, advised him to do just that after the last particularly nasty campaign. But as a citizen I was sad.
I dare say that most of us who consider ourselves politically active (or at least astute) fear that the quality of candidates for political office has diminished in recent years and that many who find themselves elected are long term representatives devoid of the fire that drove them to office in the first place, or political novices with little or no hope of ever making a difference and destined to sit on the periphery of political decision making.
I fear that unless we as a society can convince young people that ‘civil service’ is an honourable calling and create a political structure that does not favour incumbents (ranked ballots and term limits would be a good start) that vocation will continue to slide into an even sadder state.
As for my friend, I will continue to wish him well and relish the lengthy political discussions we have. But I’ll always wonder what might have been.