What Should We Expect from Elected Officials?

I admittedly spend a lot of time assessing what’s wrong and how it can be different. It’s rooted in the optimism that if we can see what’s wrong—identify the problem, measure its scale, understand what’s broken—we can fix it. That includes looking at systems and structures, but also reflecting on individuals who fail in their jobs and put others at risk. In my view, our collective well-being depends on taking seriously the responsibility to make things better.

This line of thinking got me wondering anew about elected officials—not only their failings (yes, we can find plenty of that), but also what we value and want from them. I’ll go out on a limb here and say, I reject elected officials who use their positions to lie, cheat and steal (and there’s far too much of that). 

So here’s this week’s question for discussion: What should we expect from our elected officials? These people are granted power by voters to serve society. What do we really want from them? What does success look like? Here are a few related questions to jog your thinking: Does it matter if they tell the truth? Admit mistakes? Inspire our better instincts? Work hard? Act with compassion?

As always, I welcome the opportunity to hear what you’re thinking and for this community to learn from each other.


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