There were loads of chuckles when Red Sox pitching legend Curt Schilling made the passing comment on his blog that he had some interest in running for the Senate seat of Ted Kennedy. Most of the critics quickly pointed out that Schilling was a baseball player, in fact an ex-baseball player trying to start a video game company, who had little political experience, except those trips to New Hampshire where he introduced John McCain at election rallies.
Now I take no position on Schilling as a candidate for public office in Massachusetts, but his lack of political experience is one of those traditional roadblocks for holding high office that are often dragged out when someone who doesn’t fit the mold tries to win elective office.
As a result of this ” real people need not apply” rule what we have now in this state and in this country is government run by lawyers, with a few other professions thrown in just to make it look like our leaders represent the face of Massachusetts or America.
The argument made by supporters of lawyer run government is that what those in the legislature and the executive branch do is write laws and then see that they are faithfully executed. Well let me clue you into a secret- your state representative or US Congressman rarely writes laws and on too many occasions only has a vague idea what the details of the laws are.
Most of these lawyers turned government official rely on their staff and the bevy of legal counselors who are hired to do all the nitty gritty legal work. The lawyer turned government official comes in at the end of this tedious process and either promotes the law or works to kill it.
Now back to Curt Schilling. This state and country could benefit from having people in positions of political leadership that don’t come out of the legal profession. We need more farmers, teachers, social workers, accountants, scientists, architects, and yes more professional athletes representing us in the centers of power.
In short we need a true cross section of our state and country; men and women who don’t necessarily possess a J.D. but rather have intelligence, good judgment, integrity, common sense and most of all a keen ability to compromise. Now lawyers certainly may possess all these qualities, but they are certainly not alone. Including men and women with far different life experiences and backgrounds at the centers of governmental power just might bring some fresh ideas and different perspectives to a policy process that begs for change.