The Politician’s Creed: Guiding A Leader’s Actions

great seal of the united states circle

The Creed Is Important

A creed can best be defined as a set of beliefs or aims that guide someone’s actions. Christians have them, as so many public servants like firefighters and police officers. Almost every imaginable group or job in the military has one. With such an abundance of them, have you ever stopped to think why there isn’t a Politician’s Creed?

Maybe they believe a creed isn’t needed since they take oaths of office, and maybe that is good enough reason. Pledging to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States in an oath should serve as enough of a guide, right? That may be true, however service members take an oath of enlistment and still have creeds that guide their actions. Each branch has its own, and others apply if you are in a specialized force like the Rangers or Airborne, or in a special class like a non-commissioned officer.

Applying the Soldier’s Creed

Soldier's CreedI was a soldier for twenty years. I was never overly successful at achieving rank but I wanted to serve, not engage in the careerism all too common in today’s military. Regardless, I was a non-commissioned officer, a paratrooper, and served a short time in the infantry. Each of those had their own creeds to live by, but the Soldier’s Creed was the steadfast one throughout my career. It reads:


I am an American Soldier.
I am a warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment, and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.


Powerful words to live by for those who choose to do so. So what happens if we apply them to another career field, on that say, isn’t looked upon so honorably? Would it change how America looks at its leaders? Would it change how they look at the people who elected them? Where would we be as a nation if they made honest efforts to solve problems instead of playing politics with them? It’s an idealist notion, I know. But hey, I didn’t become a political fiction author due to lack of imagination.

Holding a Politician’s Feet to the Fire

American Politician making speech at a podium

With that in mind, I am going to speak directly to our elected representatives. I give you the Politician’s Creed:

I am an American Politician.

I am a representative of the people and a member of a team.

Two key points here: the first is a reminder of what your primary job is. The second is a reminder that it’s not all about you. Despite what we are sometimes led to believe, governing is a team sport. You have to cooperate with others. You have to reach across the aisle to get things done.

I serve the people of the United States and live the American Values.

Now we define what you do in your job: serve the people. Some politicians think that it’s the opposite; it’s not. The second part is trickier, as there is not one set of American Values. I will again lightly borrow from the Army and go with a set I believe most of my countrymen will agree with me on: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless-service, honor, courage, integrity, and charity. (Let me know if I missed any other important ones).

I will always place the mission first.

Your job is to lead, to represent, and to solve problems. Not to fund raise, play golf, cater to lobbyists and special interests, or use your title to get dinner reservations. The business of the people is your priority, and it should always be first.

I will never accept defeat.

Not everything goes your way, and this doesn’t mean reject the outcome when it doesn’t. It means you never stop working to solve a problem just because it’s difficult. You never stop advocating for the people. You never stop working for the betterment of all Americans. A great politician should never let a complex problem defeat them.

I will never quit.

Representing a country as diverse and challenging as America takes effort to the point of exhaustion. Any executive or representative elected for that honor had better not have any quit in them, at least until the day after their term is up. There is nothing more un-American that giving up just when things get tough. Politicians must be the perfect exemplar of that resiliency. If you need inspiration about how to deal with a crisis, just read up on FDR or Lincoln.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

We succeed as a nation, and we fail as one. This line should apply to all Americans, but especially to our elected leaders. In a society all too aware of the things that divide us like race, gender, and income, we must evolve to a point where we realize we are stronger when we encourage all to succeed. Instead of demonizing those who fall on hard times, we should work towards picking them up. Not just in handouts, but in the creation of real opportunity. Far too many Americans are being left behind on the battlefield of life.

I am disciplined, mentally tough, trained and proficient in my political responsibilities and procedures.

No more sexting or trysts. No more shady business deals or acting for your own gain or that of your contributors and friends. Most of all, no more being above the law. Politicians are the elected representatives of the people. Your actions are a reflection on all of us. You should exhibit self-control. You should know what they’re doing. All that takes discipline and all of our leaders should be exercising it more than the people they represent, not less.

I always keep faith with my constituents, my state, and my country.

No more America bashing. No more shame in where you live or who you represent. If you don’t like a decision or course of action, work to change it. Our nation is not a perfect one. Our states are not perfect. The people are not perfect. As a politician, do not turn your back on them. Do not take your bat and ball and go home. Work to correct injustices. Work to make our nation a better, stronger one, not a more divisive one. America is the greatest nation in the world, not because we are first or best in everything, but because we recognize our weaknesses and seek to overcome them.

I am an expert and I am a professional.

It is hard for politicians to know everything. That’s why they seem to never read the bills they vote into law. But they should be an expert in as many areas as possible, including governing. For the things they don’t know, ask questions. Bring in subject-matter experts. Learn and apply that knowledge. Being professional has a universal understanding.

I stand ready to confront, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States.

This doesn’t mean picking up a rifle and engaging ISIS, or the Russians and Cubans ala Red Dawn (the first movie, not the lousy remake). Enemies don’t have to be physical threats. Poverty, crime, discrimination, greed, corruption, ignorance, and apathy are enemies to all of us. You must tackle that problem, not only through laws, but by setting the example and working with those willing to join them in making a difference.

I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.

This may be the most important line in the creed. While this has a literal meaning to a Soldier, it is a more philosophical one for a politician. The decisions you make affects our lives, and we rely on you to preserve our freedoms, not curtail them. You pass laws in the present that affect the future. Will “The Land of the Free” still having meaning when you’re done?

I am an American Politician.

How many of your elected representatives would follow this creed? Tweet them or message them and find out. Share with your friends and family to do the same.

 

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Copyright 2016 Politics as Unusual

About Mikael Carlson

Mikael Carlson is the award-winning political fiction author of The iCandidate and the Michael Bennit Series of political dramas. He has also written the thriller The Eyes of Others. His current series, The Black Swan Saga, are epic dystopian political thrillers that showcase a world of corporate governance dominated by elitists. The first two novels, America, Inc. and America, Inc.: Bounded Rationality are available now. He lives in Danbury, CT.

About MikaelCarlson 42 Articles
Mikael Carlson is the award-winning political fiction author of The iCandidate and the Michael Bennit Series of political dramas. He has also written the thriller The Eyes of Others. His current series, The Black Swan Saga, are epic dystopian political thrillers that showcase a world of corporate governance dominated by elitists. The first two novels, America, Inc. and America, Inc.: Bounded Rationality are available now. He lives in Danbury, CT.

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