The Cowboy Code
As I’m getting older I’ve been reading westerns, especially those written by Louis L’Amour. Cowboys and Cowgirls lived good decent lives. And they lived by a simple code that guided them through life:
- Live each day with courage
- Ride for the brand
- When you make a promise, keep it
- Your word is your bond
- When your friends are in trouble run towards them not away from them
- Talk less and say more
- Remember that some things are not for sale
- Take pride on your work
- Do what has to be done
Let’s look at these one at a time and relate them to our elected officials.
Live each day with courage. Our elected empty suits could really be effective if they lived by this. What kind of courage do they need? I want to see them demonstrate the courage to live by what they promised those who voted for them and especially for those who are paying taxes. I want to see them demonstrate the courage of their own convictions. When they speak I want them to say what they mean and what they believe and then live and act by those beliefs. Say what you mean and live by what you said, don’t change your position when you speak to different groups or when your handlers tell you to change what you believe.
Ride for the brand means that you’re loyal to your organization, the brand identified who owned the cattle. When you rode for the brand you felt an obligation to support your organization in every way possible. Loyalty and respect for your organization and the other members of that organization. Loyalty and trust are important at home and in public. Elected empty suits rarely ride for the brand; they ride for the highest bidder. Not necessarily for a crude cash payment to buy their vote, but by adjusting their position on a topic to adjust their vote in ways that don’t support or defend what they said when they were running for office. The tax payers and voters in their districts are their brand, they must show loyalty and respect to their brand.
When you make a promise, keep it. Your word is your bond. How simple is this to live up to? When you say something to get elected, do what you say. You said it in public to people who trust you, doing what you say should be an easy thing to live up to. Representing yourself as a decent hard working representative of the taxpaying public should make it easy to do what you promised. Do what you said you would do, every time, no exceptions. I can forgive stupid; I won’t forgive disloyal or untrustworthy.
Your reputation and credibility are built on your past actions. Lie to me today, and then try to sell your lie as a practical application of your public efforts on the tax payer’s behalf is a lie and will be seen as a lie by those who expect you to live by the code.
When your friends are in trouble run towards them not away from them. Personally and professionally stand by your family and friends. Stand by your family and friends no matter what. Friends and family make mistakes, sometimes serious mistakes, as far down as they go they need friends and family to help pick them up when they stumble. Friends do define you, but we can’t control the actions of our friends and we can’t choose our family. You don’t have to condone what they did wrong, but you can stand by them to help them get right after they fall. Run towards them never away from them. I won’t vote for a fair weather friend, anyone who turns against you for standing by a friend in deep deep trouble isn’t worth keeping with you. Do the right things regardless of what some people think.
Talk less and say more is good advice for everyone. Elected empty suits can learn from this. Most questions can be answered by a few simple words. Long multisyllabic responses to simple questions are a clear sign you’re lying. Most responses should be yes, no, I won’t do that ever, or I will do that every time I get a chance. A longer response only sets you up for an opportunity to do something different after you’re in office.
Remember that some things are not for sale. This should be obvious, but from what we’ve seen with elected officials they obviously need a reminder. Your word is your bond, when you make a promise you keep it, the respect and loyalty you are expected to have for the tax payers and voters who put their trust in you should be enough to keep you as an elected official to be your own man or woman while in office. Party leaders, campaign contributors, wealthy people in your district who want something special, which may not be in line with the position you took while campaigning for office. Don’t let your position change and have it appear you sold something that should not be sold. What you sold was the trust the tax payers had in you and their respect for you as a man or a woman.
Take pride on your work, be proud of who you are and who you represent. You’re riding for your brand and you should be proud that your friends and neighbors trusted you to represent their best interests. You should be proud that they trust and respect you. Do the job with pride and stand by your words. Make them proud that they voted for you. The tax payers in your district are paying for what you’re voting for, the voters in your district voted for you. Not all voters are tax payers, take care of your tax payers as well as your voters, but make sure you are mindful of the burden you’re placing on the tax payers.
Do what has to be done. Some jobs are difficult and some cause you to get beaten and bruised along the way. Do what has to be done and do it well. Do the right thing for the right reasons no matter what. You may have to take some lumps as you do the right thing, but do it and do it right. Make the tax payers who voted for you proud that they voted for you. If you have to take some lumps and bruises along the way make sure they are on the front of you, not on your back. Get hurt going towards the danger not running away from it.
If you want my vote, Cowboy up and ride for your brand!!