One of the pleasures I have during election cycles is working as a volunteer where the people who qualify to run for office on the local level fill out their application forms.
There is a process whereby all people who are willing to offer to serve in elective office must submit. Several forms are required to be filled out and certain regulations imposed upon the person seeking office. There is a set fee that must be paid at the time of qualifying. All these forms and fees have to be submitted over the signature of the person running for office.
As a Notary, I volunteer my time to watch the person sign the form and then I affix my authorized Notary seal to their application, whereupon they have then completed their part of the qualifying application cycle.
There are times following the tense moment when the new person, having never offered to run before, turns to leave and I say, “You are now a politician.”
The responses to that statement are always very interesting to me. Some people simply reply with a “thank you.” However, others begin to protest, saying they are not a politician. While other people will often say, “I have never wanted to be a politician.”
There are people from time to time serving in elective office who like to lay claim to the fact that they are not a politician. The word politician is one of those words that does not ring positive with the general public. Over the many years of my adult life, I have heard hundreds of public office holders make speeches and somewhere in their speech they like to insert the disclaimer that they are not a politician.
The dictionary defines a politician as “a seeker or holder of public office.” Taking that definition from the dictionary, the word politician — no matter how negative the view might be of politicians — is any person holding or seeking a public office. It is amusing to listen and watch incumbents when they run for re-election to begin listing all the reasons they want to continue in office, but with the assurance that it is not because they are a politician.
I know that “political speak” is much different than normal conversations you and I have each day. A politician must find a way to connect with the people and reassure them that though they are one of them they are the best person available for the office they seek. During the election cycle at all levels — local, state or federal— when the person seeking office can find someone or something else to blame for the mess they promise to fix, it is even better. We are seeing an example of this form of political speak currently as President Obama is now blaming Congress for his lack of accomplishments. From where I stand, a person seeking or holding public office is a politician, good or bad impression aside.
Do you view the word "politician" as negative or positive? Tell us in comments.
Follow Ray Newman on Twitter — @RayNewmanSr.