I sometimes think of those words when I see crowing politicians today. I find something a little off about a person who can stand up day after day, blowing her own horn, saying "Pick me, pick me! I'm great!" I suspect the best leaders do tend to be pushed from behind, called by duty and a willingness to sacrifice for the needs of the community.
The structure of our private-money campaign system, however, tends to attract too many people who are in politics to serve their own egos, or because they have the backing of wealthy campaign donors who expect something in return for their investments. I like to think that at least some of our leaders start out with idealistic, selfless visions, but then are corrupted by a broken system that forces them into the pockets of special interests in order to fund the astronomical costs of keeping their jobs. It's a devil's bargain; to do a little bit of good for the many, they may rationalize, they'll just meet and talk with so-n-so (who has tens or hundreds of thousands for their reelection war chests)- and down the slippery slope they slide.
Maybe she doesn't know it, but I think Dr. Elizabeth Warren could be elected president without bowing down to the moneyed interests. Warren's Senate campaign was funded by more small donors than any Senate campaign in the history of this country. Her countless fans of modest means are so excited at the prospect of an honest, straight-talking, energetic, smart, tough, fearless fighter for common sense and fairness that they will happily give and do whatever it takes to land her in the Oval Office.
Millions of voters who sent Mr. Obama to the White House thought they were seating a fighter for the average citizen. Many have been bitterly disappointed at appeasement, half steps, same-old, and sell-outs. They would do backflips to have the real thing on their side in this time of mass suffering and disappearing hope.
I have had to hold my nose for too many elections, choosing lesser evils because that's all there was. Warren says she doesn't want the job, but her bid for the presidency would inspire my passion, along with that of millions of others, and might make the trip to the polls a joy for a change. I call upon my fellow Americans to plant themselves with me posterior to Mrs. Warren, and provide the shove that might give us, at long last, a president who does not want the job, and who is therefore truly qualified for it.