I was driving home when it hit me.
I had gone out of town for a speech and missed my daughter’s school Christmas pageant. On the car phone my wife told me all about it and how excited our daughter was. “I wish you could have been here,” my wife said. That’s when I realized that I could have been there if only I had put my family first.
Changing the world, helping people, restoring Congress are all worthy goals. But not at the price of putting them before one’s family. We all struggle to keep a healthy perspective in this life.
It may be one of the toughest challenges our representatives in Congress face. Traveling back and forth from Washington, so often away from their families, constantly facing pressure to alter their principles to gain support from one special interest or another, and the well-documented corrupting influence of power, it’s all a recipe for trouble. No wonder even those congressmen who campaign on “family values” have an incredibly high divorce rate.
We send good men and women to Washington, but we place them in an unhealthy system. This is particularly true when they begin to pursue their own career interests, which never match the people’s interests. One cannot serve two masters.
Representative Tom Coburn, a medical doctor who has limited himself to 3 terms, says, “People become addicted to the morphine of power and ego and it does affect your judgement. It’s mind-altering.” Rep. Mark Sanford has also limited himself to 3 terms. His wife Jenny is glad he’ll soon be spending more time with their boys. She told a reporter, “He’s not the only one in the family who’s for term limits.”
My wife knows exactly what she means. The line between your family and your job is the finest line you’ll ever walk, and for our political leaders, and everyone else, it should lead back home.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.