One of our national past times is bashing politicians. Of course, some have earned our contempt, but the majority of them, regardless of party, deserve our basic respect. For all of the glory and prestige of holding public office - and for many offices, that's not much - these are individuals who routinely have to endure:
- Attacks on their integrity simply because of disagreement over an issue;
- Vicious cartoons and letters to the editor portraying them as fools and scoundrels;
- Criticism over the sort of verbal and grammatical slips that all of us make;
- Scrutiny of every dumb, insensitive, and thoughtless remark they've uttered since childhood;
- Evenings and weekends away from family due to political meetings, constituent problems, and the work associated with their office;
- Almost no privacy;
- Reptilian journalists who aren't adverse to twisting words and meaning;
- A life limited by the knowledge that little things such as hair style, clothing choices, and smiles will be evaluated by an army of second-guessers;
- Little gratitude; and
- Much blame.
Sure, there are rewards to public service. Those seem to get, however, far more attention than the drawbacks.
When we watch the winners and the losers on Tuesday night, we might want to remember the gauntlet that many have had to pass through and the fact that these are not automatons, but fellow human beings.