Who in your life do you trust? Family? Friends? What about acquaintances, the internet, coworkers or schoolmates? How about politicians?

Chances are you don’t trust that last one, which is a big deal because they can affect so much of our life.  This summer, I did a week-long student congress. During that week, we came together to try and create the best country we could through our bills. We sought to make sure that the people still had choice and liberty while not allowing anarchy either.

We elected a chairman to organize our meetings, to help us run smoothly. We gave the chairman power to make sure everyone was there, and to lead the meeting. He also influenced what bills went forward and -since we were usually doing a voice vote- was the interpreter of whether the consensus was yay or nay. We trusted that he had the same goals as we did. 

In the beginning he was doing his job -doing what we asked him to do- but there were signs that he was trying to control what the Senate was doing, in the background. He was slowly overstepping the bounds that we, as the Senate, had given him. For example, when the voice vote was really close, he would make a decision. Sometimes people would call for a standing vote, and they were ignored or voted down. It got so severe that I wondered if there was a point to call for a standing vote. This wasn’t entirely the Chairman’s fault, but neither did he discourage this.  

The final straw was when he brought up a bill to create a security force for the Senate under his control. Whatever trust we had placed in him was now gone. At least for most of us. The bill did not pass -barely. I was worried what repercussions would come. Gratefully, really the only repercussion was him stepping down, because he felt like the limitations as chair were too great.

We lost trust in him because he wasn’t clear with his intentions. His true goals seemed to be to gather power for himself. He seemed biased in his judgement, no longer seeking to represent but only to get his way. 

Another example is Saruman from Lord of the Rings. He was trusted with protecting Middle Earth, but when it came down to it he chose personal power over his responsibility to defend the people. 

There are people in our government today who do this: they start out by representing then move to their own goals. The entire point of our politicians is to represent us. This is why it is so vital that we are able to trust our politicians and government leaders. So we need to study before we vote, yes. But we also need to make sure that we are holding those we voted for accountable while they are in office. 

So do your best to really find out what the candidates stand for before you vote. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out and send messages to your Representatives and Senators, reminding them they are obligated to represent you and your community, not a political party or their own personal gain.