Op-Ed: In Lakewood, And Around The Globe; A Public Service Threshold; Exactly Who Is Fit To Serve? The Barack Obama Lesson

op-edBy: Aaron Joseph. There is final sophistication that eventually summarizes all ability in any walk of life; in every venue; in all situations. It is the optimal in all fields and a recognized thread throughout global civilization spanning eons throughout history. It is the one word that even Liberal Democrats have come to recognize as a simple truth. The word is experience. Life experience.

Every occupation has an entry level. Many professions have a growth ladder and with time, promotion as advancement evolves upon the achiever elevating his stature. The longer one stays in a field the more renown he becomes as his reputation gains prominence. The very best- more often than not- gain distinction and fame.

The world has subscribed to this ever steady philosophy of aspiration; of progressively graduating from level to level; accumulating one set of responsibility and ability before another. The brief exception to this reality are a select very few- those unwittingly born into the cultured hallowed halls of a heredity monarchy. But even amongst royalty there is a form of sophisticated erudition.

There is a prickly question that so often goes unanswered. Why are our democratically elected civil servants, more often then not, inexperienced? Why is public service so often allowed to be a training and proving ground?

Why when electing a civil servant, is the standard any different then when hiring an employee in the “real world”? Why is the philosophy of proving oneself before attaining high office not applied to the politician? Why does aspiration and ambition for public office in and of itself suffice as credence to allow one to seek that office? Why are those public office enthusiasts so often without prior general knowledge or know-how in the area in which they yearn to hold office? Why is the politician who will do anything to sell himself and promote his agenda in a short three month campaign, suddenly qualified for the job?

The biggest unanswered question is- why in the world do we vote for these? How do we let ourselves- sometimes rather bright intelligent people- be mislead into electing such?

With the recent economic developments on the national stage, even hard core Liberal Democrats have begun to speculate over the wisdom of having allowed President Obama the highest office in the land. Their conjecture hinges upon the above mentioned one-word universe: experience.

Towards the end of his brilliant article in last Sunday’s New York Times, Drew Westen, a professor of psychology at Emory University and the author of “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation.” expressed the following thought regarding the apparent collapse of the Obama Presidency. In his first argument Dr. Westen reasons that Mr. Obama seemingly can’t establish any one definite position on so many issues- confounding a defined credibility.

But then Dr. Westen eloquently writes:

“A second possibility is that he is simply not up to the task by virtue of his lack of experience and a character defect that might not have been so debilitating at some other time in history. Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted “present” (instead of “yea” or “nay”) 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues.”

Dr. Westen powerfully and accurately ascribes experience as the center pillar for public leadership and governing success. Experience provides a wellspring of fortitude for anybody in any area of life; a fortitude that supplies a vital staying power and reserve drawn upon by any servant, especially the public civil servant.

This is the ever difficult lesson of Barak Obama. This is a lesson that some immediately understood two years ago even before the presidential election. This is lesson which has now become painfully apparent to even Liberal Democrats- they who just two years ago praised Barack Obama as the American Messiah. This is a vitally important lesson, a lesson of experience that must be shared and learned by all.

We the general populations are not to be used as a training ground. We must not be fodder for the untried political puppy gunning to garner his own personal experience in the public arena, or of the less ethical who seek name and fame and sometimes fortune.

The public arena must best be served by experience- as it ultimately affects everyone and everything in it. This is a foremost obligation you and I share as a voter. This is an obligation not just to oneself- but to society at large and all who depend upon us.

It would not do any harm to consider a simple 6 part benchmark public service threshold test: A. Experience B. Background C. Prior Occupations D. Education E. Successful Accomplishments. F. Qualified Endorsements.

Such a test must be applied to any candidate and surely the novice politician seeking to offer his services to supposedly benefit one and all. What are his life’s experiences – both successes and failures? What are his basic background information, and a list of accredited prior occupations – and of course education? What are some successful accomplishments the office seeker attained prior to seeking office, and exactly who is promoting and endorsing him and his agenda for office, and for why? But it all boils down to experience- after all, granted the man may be brilliant, but nothing at all can match life’s experience. And oftentimes the longer lived- the more extensive the experiences!

On a local civic scale a much similar test can be applied. Only a healthy dose of life experience can indoctrinate anyone with the knowledge and aptitude to govern and to make decisions affecting nearly 100,000 people. A wealth of life’s experience must be a very basic necessity at the fingertips of our local representatives, and a foremost prerequisite demanded from those who seek to serve us.

In conclusion: The Barak Obama lesson to first begin ones initial experiences at the expense of the public; of proving to be the one who brazenly vies against authentic successful accomplishment and accumulative life experience – in essence proves to be that of someone who is not fit to serve. For such I am not up to the task of casting a vote in favor of – and such an audacious greenhorn is not up to the task of governing. I hope this Obama lesson spreads- without more pain on the national level.

In the final analysis, there is a public service threshold that you and I must seek to elect and install, namely, life experience. We must do all we can as private citizens so as to benefit society at large. We must insure that those with the required life experience are those who serve us, both for the benefit of those living in Lakewood and for the benefit of citizens across the country and around the globe.

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  1. I am always amazed at mr joseph’s depth and breadth of knowledge on every topic under the sun. its like he is a professor of every thing plus a great bal hashkofa. Keep it up!

  2. There is also a threshhold of allowing new faces to prove themsleves. This is true in a medical office with a doctor, or a classroom each time a new teacher starts to teach.

    While it must be done with care as the author pointed out, new government faces can be beneficial to society. Because of this we have a Mr. Miller as our Mayor, and he does a wonderful job.

  3. I could not agree with Aaron Joseph more. He wrote my thoughts exactly though admittedly better then I could convey them. The Obama fiasco is proof that just chancing well spoken office seekers into positions of prominence hurt one and all. It is incumbent on all to scrutinize those running for office, and Joseph’s 6 part test is an innovative method.

  4. Mr. Joseph fails to acknowledge that Pres.Obama is an Ivy League Graduate, a Professor of Constitutional Law, a former state and federal Senator. No one other than an incumbent has experience as the President of the USA. George W. Bush had a poor scholastic record, ran several failed businesses, did not fare well as Governor of Texas. Yet he was elected. Indeed no President of this country , other than an incumbent, entered office with experience as President. That’s why we have advisers, cabinets, party leaders, Chiefs of Staff, attorneys, etc to advise and guide our elected officials. To call our President a Greenhorn shows Mr. Joseph’s true intent for this trivial piece. He should be ashamed of himself.

  5. Reading this piece at first objectively, and then subjectively, I believe that the author’s intent seems to be to expound upon the article of Dr. Westen, which in his words: “that he [Mr. Obama] had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography etc.”

    The merit of Mr. Joseph’s piece do in fact bring to light the fact that Mr. Obama was, based upon the above quoted #5, a “Greenhorn” political operative before landing his job as our president.

    I would like to reinforce Mr. Joseph’s merit by saying, that while it is true regarding that which Mr. Curious #5 suggests that “No one other than an incumbent has experience as the President of the USA…”, most presidents build upon their experiences, both experiences prior to taking office, and during the course of their tenure in office.

    I agree, and perhaps further Mr. Joseph’s arguments that Mr. Obama did not have proper experience prior to his brazenly seeking the highest office in our land, and has fallen far short upon building on any experiences.

    It is for a president to lead based on his experiences and not simply and only rely upon advisors, cabinet etc.

    I think however that Mr. Joseph’s entire article can be summarized in a simple sentence. “Individuals seeking public office should have plenty of life experience prior to serving.” This sentence succinctly justifies the author’s title of: “Op-Ed: In Lakewood, And Around The Globe; A Public Service Threshold; Exactly Who Is Fit To Serve? The Barack Obama Lesson”

    To this I cannot agree more. Thank You.

  6. Curise, Obama hasn’t authored one piece of law, he hasn’t shown us his essays in collage. When he was in congress for a drop of time he burly voted. Bottom line Obama is a informative action president.

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