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Public Servant - Basic Qualifications

Updated on November 17, 2018
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years.

Introduction

We just had a mid-term election. Many new people are elected to Congress and State Houses and local governments. The question I have is what qualification do these individuals must have in order to succeed.

- Nov. 2018

Background

Our Constitution is not very clear on this topic. For certain offices, there are age limitations. There is also citizenship requirement to run for President. However, there should be some practical guidelines for any public servant. This article explore some of these basic qualifications.

For example, if you want to be a policeman, you need to go to school and be trained in the police academy. You must understand our laws and our justice system. You must also learn how to deal with crisis and emotional people.

If you want to be a teacher, you need to be certified by the State and pass certain tests.

If you want to be a bus driver, you need to get a special license and be trained to drive a large vehicle through city streets.

If you want to be a lawyer, you need to go to law school and learn our laws and the past case histories and how to argue in front of a judge...

In most every profession, there is some form of qualifications or standards that one must pass in order to work in those fields.

What I am getting at, is that the same must apply to all our elected officials.

Some Basic Qualifications

  • Speak English fluently.
  • Understand our Constitution and how our system works.
  • Be honest and truthful when dealing with the public.
  • Abide by all laws and regulations on the books.
  • Treat all people equally and with respect.

Some Additions...

Since a lawmaker suppose to write new laws, he or she must understand the law and how it is to be practiced. Therefore, many of our public servants have law degrees. It is not a necessity but it would help.

A lawmaker must also understand economics and finance. He or she must know how funds are raised and how best to spend those funds for the public good.

A lawmaker must be a people person. He or she is elected because they are very pursuasive. They can talk to a large crowd and convince them of their vision and how they want to improve their community and lives.

Finally, a lawmaker must be a good negotiator. He or she must deal with various other individuals with vastly different agenda and come up with a deal that satisfy all concerned.

Back to The Basics

Our Constitution.

Oath of office.

Pledge of allegiance.

In NY 14th Congressional district, a young women named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected. She is 29 years old, graduated from Boston University with a BA degree. She is running as a Democrat but proclaims to be a member of the Democratic Socialist Party.

At 28 years old, Ocasio-Cortez was one of the youngest nominees for Congress.

Her young age is not the problem but her lack of knowledge is troubling. In many interviews, she seems to lack the basic understanding of our democractic system. She does not have a good grasp of basic foreign policy.

During a PBS interview, she said, “Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs. Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family.”

She also believe in abolishing ICE. Does she even know what ICE does?

She and Bernie Sanders wants free college education for all.

Does she know our Constitution? which calls for a limited Federal government.

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez

The Oath of Office

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Summary

The simple question is this. How can someone pledge an oath to support and defend the Constitution when that person either does not know the Constitution or worse disagrees with the basic principles outlined in our Constitution?

Postscript - Nov. 13, 2018

Amazon just announced the location of their new headquarter. They chose Long Island City, NY and Crystal City, Virginia. This should be welcome news for New Yorkers. Yet, the first one to critcize this is no other than the newly elected House of Representitive, a socialist, by the name of Alexandria Cortez. Why am I not surprised?

New York City, you voted for her and you can keep her. If I was Amazon, I would change my mind and move to Texas or Nevada or Florida...where I would be welcomed...

Now, She is an Expert on Climate Change...

“I just want to let you all know how proud I am of each and every single one of you. For putting yourselves and your bodies and everything on the line to make sure we save our planet,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Ocasio-Cortez then talked about her own experience protesting climate change.

“We don’t have a choice. We have to get to one hundred percent renewable energy in 10 years. There is no other option,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

Meanwhile, NASA scientist is predicting a cooling due to lack of sunspots...

Don’t Know Much About History...

The lyrics of this song just pop into my head every time I think about Alexandria Cortez...

It seems she does’t know much about foreign policy...

She doesn’t know much about economics...

She doesn’t know much about civics...

She doesn’t know much about science...

She doesn’t know much about freedom and self reliance...they go hand in hand.

How did she get elected to Congress?

what did she learn at Boston University?

A self proclaimed socialist - Mr. Smith takes Washington scenario.

She needs all the luck she can get.

© 2018 Jack Lee

Comments

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    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      9 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Liz, thanks for sharing how it is in the UK, but here in the States, it seems we have a new generation of citizens that were not taught the basic of civics in the public schools, They in turn help elect some who are also like them, clueless about how our government works. How can we survive if this is allowed to continue...?

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      9 months ago from UK

      In the UK the backgrounds of our MPs has varied greatly. In the 60s and 70s they came from different working backgrounds and tended to be older. Then we had a phase of a lot of law background MPs, which made sense as they were making the laws. In recent years some have been younger career politicians who studied Politics, Philosiphy and Economics at university and went straight into political jobs.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      9 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Marie, there are only 435 members of the House of Representatives among a population of 320 million.

      You mean to tell me we have to accept who ever comes along who may not have the experience or the knowledge to guide our laws?

      They are paid to write legislation to benefit all of us. It is not a job where you train as you go...

      There should be a minimum qualification and that was what I wrote about in this article. Thanks for checking in.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      9 months ago

      It is shocking that so many in Congress fail miserably when it comes to the role of public servant. Most of them only serve themselves, not those they are supposed to represent.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 

      9 months ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      I don't follow politics much. Basically, I try not to judge a label. What politics boil down to is the will of the people, or lack thereof. Candidates running for office become discouraged, I think, when they realize their agenda is not being implemented so easily. There is always opposition.

      I remember a high school teacher once remarked that a good example of communism was how nuns lived. I thought about that and realized such a life certainly is not for everyone, but it suited them; they had agreed to it.

      So it is with politics. People experiment with ways of living. When they get tired of the experiment, the pendulum swings in the opposite direction and they try something different.

      I think the journalist is a little hard on Ms Cortez. She wants to focus on a couple of New York burroughs. Let her. If she doesn't know what she is doing, she will learn. After all, that's how one gains experience. There always checks and balances, even at lower levels of government.

      Ms. Cortez may not understand her professed political position, and she may not be good at answering questions, but it seems she has spirit and a heart, and that's a start.

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