Here is how Lord Acton wrote it:
When someone has control and authority over others, it changes the way they think. If we look at our political class, we give those we elect or who are appointed by those we elect, the power and authority to control things that affect us. We even give them titles, and those titles, Senator, Representative, Ambassador, or those in the Cabinet, Mister Secretary or Madam Secretary, that set them apart from, and really above the rest of America's citizens. We give these titles, which become lifelong titles even though our own founding fathers feared titles and came right out in the Constitution telling us not to give out titles. There is really little difference between the lifelong political title we give to our politicians, and the inherited titles the nobility of England had, and our Founding Fathers distained.
In our Constitution we say this about titles.
But if you think about it, every elected official keeps their title of office for the rest of their lives. The same is true for those appointed. How many times have you heard some news interview with a senator out of office for years referred to as "Senator this" or a former ambassador referred to as "Ambassador that". They are always introduced as not Mister or Madam, but Senator or Secretary of whatever Cabinet post they held. And you know none of them has ever said "Oh, just call me Bill or Mary." They love that title. It makes them believe they still hold on to some of the power they once had, and by giving them their titles for life, we are giving them some small portion of the power they once had.
People wonder why politicians do whatever it takes to raise the money to have one more campaign. It is the addiction to power. It doesn't matter if they are already rich, like Hillary Clinton or Mitt Romney, they don't need the salary; they simply lust after the power. I am sure you have heard it talked about how even low level political figures think in their minds somehow they could be President someday. President of the United States - the ultimate power trip.
Think about all the old codgers in our government. There are many, way past retirement age, and every one of them would get a retirement check that would allow them to live better than over 90% of those who voted for them, but having tasted the power their elected office gives them, they can't quit. They are addicted to that power.
There are many Senators and Congressmen who serve for over 40 years and some over 50 years.
Do you really think after that long they are coming up with any new ideas? They have already been paid millions of dollars in tax money for their salary. What keeps them returning to the campaign trail each time their term in office is up? After so many years they will get their salary or more in retirement pay, plus many were rich before they were first elected. What is left?
I know many who read this will be think, "Not my Senator or Congressman." Well, think of this. It your elected official first took office in 1985, 30 years ago, our National Debt was less than $2 trillion dollars. In your office holder's 30 years, he or she has managed to spend that debt up to over $18 trillion dollars. Do you really think he or she was prudently watching our country's finances, or were they more interested in spending money that would come back to them in the form of campaign money and votes to stay in power? You can ask the same question about wars, the environment, cost of education, quality of education, or anything else. See what answer you come up with.
So, when a foreign government like Israel or huge corporations or labor unions tell a politician they will help in a big way to foot the bill for their next campaign to stay in power, like a drug addict they have to sell their vote to the highest bidder to get their drug of choice - power. Power, is the heroin of the political class, and like all junkies, you always need more and more to get that high you seek. Thus there is a desire for that ultimate fix, being President of the United States, and becoming the most powerful man or woman in the world has become the Holy Grail for those addicted to power.
I believe most, if not all, first-term office-holders come to that office thinking they and their ideas can help their country and fellow man. It takes a little time for the power to corrupt, but after a while, with everyone wanting to hear what you have to say, lobbyists fawning all over you, along with every news organization in the country, politicians of any office start to get a feel for the power that comes along with the position they won or were appointed to. Like any other drug, it takes control of them.
Lord Acton was right. Power does corrupt. Just look at our political class.
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