Comment Of The Day (2): “Public Servant Ethics, Employment Ethics, Baseball Fan Ethics, And Senator John McCain”

The post about John McCain’s troubling performance during the Comey testimony inspired this thoughtful comment by dragin_dragon, a self-professed senior citizen (although I had no idea), on the related topic f officials knowing when age and/or infirmity create an ethical obligation to step down and retire in the interests of society. 

The confounding factor, and one that becomes a powerful rationalization for those who want to stay on in important positions long after their metaphorical pull-date, is that many of them can truthfully argue that their age-ravaged abilities are still better than most of the younger alternatives. Or, as my sister said during a discussion on this topic, “I’d rather have Justice Ginsberg with half her marbles than anyone Trump would nominate.”  I bet that’s how Justice Ginsberg is thinking too. Then there was that attorney with a drinking problem who everyone in the firm agreed was twice as good as any attorney in the firm when sober, and 50% better when drunk as a skunk.

Does that mean the firm should be satisfied if he’s drunk all the time? Isn’t this the same as the age diminished once-brilliant judge?

A topic for another time. Meanwhile, here is dragin_dragon’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Public Servant Ethics, Employment Ethics, Baseball Fan Ethics, And Senator John McCain”:

There comes a time in anyone’s life when it should be obvious that it is time to “Hang up the guns”. In my own life, I am but 71, and I am seeing numerous anomalies in my behavior (walking into a room and wondering why I am here) and in my rational thought (I suspect most who have read my comments sometimes have the same question). I am getting to where I lose debates to my wife on a regular basis (she’ll tell you I’ve always done that). More to the point, I am AWARE of the beginning deterioration. I am wondering if John McCain and Ruth Ginsberg are.

Another thought had occurred to me, however. After realizing that there was some slippage, I have refused an opportunity to run for Alderman and for Mayor of our little newly-incorporated city, because I honestly did not feel I would be able to do the job, either of them, justice, either mentally (what’d you say my name was again?) or physically. I’m winded some mornings after tying my shoe-laces. However, I am reasonably certain that narcissism plays little part in my personality. I suspect it is a BIG part of most elected officials (city, county, state, national) personalities. The idea being “Nobody but ME can do this job properly”, or in some cases, “Nobody but me can do this job, period, well or poorly.”

I suspect that this is where John McCain, Ruth Ginsburg and I part company. I KNOW I’m a ‘senior citizen’ and cannot do many of the things I did many years ago (win bar fights, win debates with my wife, remember what I was saying…I have been known to forget what I was saying in mid-sentence). I don’t think they ARE aware of it. And this worries me a little. In so far as I am aware, and this was never my field of practice, there have never been any longitudinal studies on the attitudes of either narcissists or sociopaths as they grow older. I believe that needs to happen, if for no other reason so that we can point to some hard data when trying to limit the damage done by someone who refuses to retire when he/she should.

Yes, as evidenced by his rambling, nearly incoherent questioning, and Ruth’s refusal to recuse after admitting bias both need to retire, today. My guess, the framers never expected anybody to live long enough to get this senile. But it is happening, and we need to take some steps to deal with it. One Senator might not gum up the works too badly; one SCOTUS Justice…much more likely.

3 Comments

Filed under Character, Comment of the Day, Daily Life, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Professions, Workplace

3 responses to “Comment Of The Day (2): “Public Servant Ethics, Employment Ethics, Baseball Fan Ethics, And Senator John McCain”

  1. Congrats, dd!

    The founders never thought people could be so… small. They envisioned selfless leaders and informed, engaged citizens. This was their failing, if it IS a failing: a system that requires people to respond to their better angels, at least every so often, instead of allowing for better guard rails to keep them on the straight and narrow.

    Without self discipline, by which I mean self control, there is no good government. Power has attracted those who will abuse it, on both sides of the aisle, and the truly deserving cannot get elected under the politics of personal destruction. Liberal visionaries whose goal is truly to make the world a better place are chased out of the process by corrupt political primaries, and staunch conservatives who want to discuss solutions and compromise using real world results and improvement cannot get past the party machine.

    Maybe I am tired, and should not post so late at night. The past year has been rough on my inner child, the one that wants to believe that good beats evil, that decent people prevail, and that the bad guys get stopped, if not punished. I have witnessed the left unmasked, confirming some of my worst fears of who they are, what they want, and I have had good, long suffering ethical warriors on the right abandon everything we stand for out of frustration and despair, reaching for tit for tat reactions, fighting fire with fire, not stopping to consider that one should fight fire with water.

    Hope springs eternal, and God is still on the throne. But sometimes, in the dark night, alone with my thoughts, I too despair the justice will prevail. Then I long for the total restart of the system, for the break that allows our nation to renew our commitment to freedom and liberty. We are moving past the point where discussion is even possible (true debate has not been engaged in decades,) and without a willingness to listen, we seem locked in a downward spiral that can only be stopped by striking the bottom, the lowest of the low. This would come at a horrible cost, I know, and that price could like as not be personal, but there it is.

    • Slickwilly, I feel much the same. The downward slide of our society keep pulling me in those two directions — hope that we could reverse course, and despair that things won’t get fixed within the system, and that only a revolution can fix matters.

      Two things I keep reminding myself: first, people are more likely to listen to you if you are willing to listen first and show yourself concerned about them; second, God doesn’t ask us to succeed, but to try. We can probably do more for the country by speaking earnestly with one hurting member of our communities than through any nation-wide campaign. And yes, I have to remind myself of these two items on an hourly basis.

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