I desire the better nature of people. I just don’t trust it.

This isn’t an apologia for politicians.

It shouldn’t even be considered a sympathetic explanation for the befuddling way in which they conduct themselves in their profession.

In light of last night’s upset in Massachusetts, consider this a…pointing out of sorts which, hopefully, goes to explain why you still have Hope I Don’t Get Hurt Insurance, among other things.

Politics, in all its complexity and nuance, is what politicians do for a living. I don’t mean “living” in that heady, cerebral “This is what I do for a living, baby!” way; I mean when Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Orrin Hatch and friends fill out their tax return, they write “Politicker.”

As politickers, their job is to serve the public, but their interest is to stay politickers as long as they are able. Sure; they maybe want to help people in the best way they see fit, but they definitely want to keep riding in Town Cars and making bank.

As my Twitter pal and dozens foe Melissa Harris-Lacewell pointed out, political parties are for office seekers. And most office seekers, even if they have a great idea that they truly believe in–like the public option–they’ll buckle with enough pressure. Show me someone who’s ascended to a high office and I’ll show you someone who knows the nature of compromise.

To me, the public option makes sense on every possible level. I have a good idea of what life without taxes would be–atrocious for pretty much everyone–and don’t really care about being taxed so I and others can be well. I literally shrug. If Americans stick together like we supposedly do then everyone has to pitch in. Am I enthused about giving up a few more bucks? Not really, but I spend money on all kinds of things much less worthwhile.

But my support doesn’t cost anything. It doesn’t affect my job; I have no reason to be circumspect in that regard.

Politickers can’t say that. Certain support risks a job they enjoy–being full-time politicians and some-time public servants.

Do I wish they would fight like hell? Of course. But I ain’t got nothin’ on it. And as my boy Elon might say, “Real politicians don’t do real things.”

Sounds bleak right? If so, an examination around the room is an order.

Politicians aren’t a different species of human being. They come from among us. And they are not our best.

A great deal of our best and brightest scatter to places unknown–either because they know better or just don’t care–and leave the job of police officer, school teacher and politician, to anyone but themselves.

Jobs which are as necessary as they are thankless are left to the willing. Not the willing and able; the willing. And this willingness runs the gamut from earnest belief in a cause to poorly-veiled self interest. The reward? Power to defray the fundamental thanklessness (except in the case of teachers, who get less professional respect than dockside hookers).

Some ask, “Where are our politicians?” I ask, “Where are our best?”

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