Bringing Back Statesmanship
By Josh Jones—2018 gubernatorial candidate
After the American Revolution had ended, King George III asked his American born painter Benjamin West what the newly victorious General George Washington was going to do following the end of the war. West suggested that Washington would return to his farm. George III then said, “if this is true, then he will be the greatest man on earth.”
It is vital to remember this story, because George Washington, the father of our country, won the respect of the King of England not by military acumen or rhetorical brilliance, but by the simple republican decision to self-limit his power.
George Washington was the original statesman because he knew when to go home. He had two separate opportunities, first as general and second as President – and yet, both times, after doing his duty he went home. Today in America, we have traded a tyrannical monarch for career politicians who run in election after election as they work to climb the political ladder. The sad result of this culture problem is that, along the way, career politicians become beholden to the special interests that finance their elections. While the politicians continue this cycle, the constituents get a bad deal.
Montgomery’s culture problem is a result of career politicians whose desire for power never ends. Politicians will say and do whatever it takes to get elected, but rarely will a politician deliver on their campaign promises. Indeed, many politicians are careful not to deliver on their promises because to do so would compromise the urgency of future campaign pushes, forming a gross symbiotic relationship between opposing sides of contested issues.
Although the political culture in Alabama is toxic, Alabamians have an opportunity to put an end to the status quo. This requires a statesman who can deliver the necessary paradigm shift to the culture in Montgomery. The statesman has a strong desire to serve the people; he possesses a high degree of integrity and moral character. Like the reluctant Washington, he realizes his limitations. The statesman is honest, humble and focused on putting the interests of his constituents before himself.
Unlike many others in this race, being a candidate for governor is not a dream of mine. I’m not a politician – I’m a business leader. My thoughts and actions are not clouded by interest groups or my next election. Instead, I have the clarity of mind and purpose to lead Alabama to excellence.
I am running because it’s time for a statesman. It’s time for someone who is willing to step away from his farm, or his business, serve the great people of Alabama, and then go home. This is the core of statesmanship. I’m running because I believe our state is living in an era of self-imposed stagnation. I’m dedicating everything I have to the campaign trail. I am sacrificing my business and contributing my own resources because I believe that Alabama has the potential for a bright, nation-leading future if only we can shake off the shackles of the career politicians running our state.