An Open Letter to My Children: Why You Must Choose Public Service Over Politics

I am not alone in my disgust of Washington’s behavior. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Poll showed just 14% of Americans approved of the job Congress was doing, the lowest rating ever measured. Moreover, in measuring votes taken, bills passed, and approval of presidential nominees, historians have found this 112th Congress to be one of the least productive in more than 60 years.

We don’t need any more politicians. We need public servants. We need representatives of conviction and conscience, driven to work for the betterment of our citizens—especially those who lack the resources to help themselves. Unfortunately, the congressional representatives in power have failed.

I hope your generation will learn from such squandered opportunities. I am too much of an optimist to believe that in time we cannot restore the luster of our institutions and regain pride in what they represent. But we can’t do it with you sitting on the sidelines. Whether you become an officeholder or remain a private citizen, you can and must make a difference. Hold tight to the lessons Poppa and I have taught you: To act with honesty, integrity, and dignity.

Choose to be a public servant not a politician. If you do so, you’ll never have to apologize to your children.


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