It's a wonder anyone runs for office anymore.
Elected officials are subjected to abuse and suspicion from the moment they file to run. Then there's that whole metamorphosis that occurs after they are elected.
"It's funny how the day a person takes office, they somehow suddenly become crooked, deceitful and full of ulterior motives," Porter County Commissioner Laura Blaney said at a recent Porter County Parks Foundation meeting.
Blaney's statement wasn't meant to verify the public perception of politicians. She was expressing some bitterness over the reaction to her and Commission Board President John Evans' suggestion the county build an animal shelter at Sunset Hill Park.
The park site is owned by the parks foundation, and Blaney said it seemed to meet the criteria set by a consultant. It was perceived as a sacrilege by park lovers, however, and Blaney wisely withdrew the proposal. One can only wonder at the calumny heaped upon her to elicit her comment.
No doubt some would argue that people who enter politics have ulterior motives right from the get-go or they wouldn't be running. Or that they sign a deal with the devil, or a whole host of devils with the money to support their campaign, to get elected.
It's easy to assume the worst of politicians when some end up in jail or when we are subjected to campaign commercials in which candidates accuse each other of everything short of cooking and eating homeless people. And I'm not sure Fox News hasn't accused President Barack Obama of that, too.
The inability of Congress to accomplish anything meaningful while Republican right wingnuts attribute the nation's ills to too many gays and not enough guns leaves most sane people believing the inmates are running the asylum. In that case, it doesn't really matter whether they are corrupt or not.
Office holders provide some people with a focus for their anger and disillusionment with government in general. Anything an elected official does is, to these people, suspicious. Almost any act is said to be done for his or her own benefit or the benefit of cronies.
While strident criticism of politicians has always been around, the 20th century provided a new standard by which to compare those we disagree with. For instance, "You know who else liked animal shelters in parks? Hitler."
The days of reasoned and reasonable debate and compromise have been overwhelmed by the politics of division, exclusion and fearmongering that out-Hitler Hitler.
No wonder anyone who runs for office is suspect. If they don't have ulterior motives, they must be masochists.