Winning a public election to serve the people is an honor and a privilege. Certainly, some politicians adhere to those principles. These elected officials realize that they work for the people who vote for them, and in a sense, even those who do not.
In the United States, the most successful experiment in democracy in history, elected officials work for the people. Even those positions appointed by elected lawmakers work for the public. But there are still those who let the power of the office go to their heads.
Instead of being dedicated public servants, these people develop an arrogant sense of overblown self-importance. They sort of think they’re royalty. But America doesn’t have kings and queens who set the rules and therefore govern society.
Again, this is a democracy. In the U.S., we elect our leaders. They work for us. Americans can fire their elected officials by going to the polls and voting them out of office. However, once they’re in, unless they break the law, they fulfill a particular term.
A U.S. Senator is one of the most prestigious elected officials in the world. They rank fairly close behind the U.S. President. Senators serve for six years. The level of importance would certainly create an urge to view oneself as more important than one really is.
Any senator who wins a second election would essentially be in office for more than a decade. That said, no matter how long they keep the job, it’s still a job working for the American people. Each senator has a staff. To help these staff members do their jobs, they create guides.
This is perfectly understandable. The senator needs a team that functions as a productive unit. But the idea is to be “productive,” not necessarily to kowtow to the needs of self-perceived royalty. Recently, a 37-page staff guide for Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema was released.
The “now-independent” senator’s guide supposedly had some rather bizarre instructions for her staff. Some ethics experts have raised concerns that certain things in Kyrsten Sinema’s staff guide may “cross the line.” It sort of resembles a list of do’s and don’ts for working for the queen.
The Daily Beast recently obtained the guide. In it, Sinema’s staffers are supposed to “ask if she needs groceries.” There are other tidbits of information that appear to be demands to “keep Ms. Sinema comfortable.” Ethics experts question whether some demands are “out of bounds.”
Senate ethics rules state that “staffs are compensated for the purpose of assisting senators in their official legislative and representational duties and not for the purpose of performing personal or other nonofficial activities for themselves or on behalf of others.”
The guide also sets parameters for when staff can schedule Ms. Sinema to work. Reports indicate that the Arizona Senator rarely starts her work day before 8:00 am, or works in the evening past 8:00 pm. Apparently, this isn’t very “senator-like.”
This “guide to keep Ms. Sinema as comfortable as possible” includes the importance of her fitness regimen. Evidently, Ms. Sinema desires to eat at certain times and never schedules a weekend appointment until after 1:00 pm. There are requirements for how staff schedules her flights and where Sinema will sit and not sit on an airplane.
Sinema’s office responded by denying that these reports are true. In a statement, her office said the report “is not in line with official guidance from Sen. Sinema’s office and does not represent official policies of Sen. Sinema’s office.” We certainly hope they’re not true. If they are, they resemble a list of do’s and don’ts for a queen, not an elected U.S. Senator.