Godspeed, Trey Gowdy!
There are few politicians that I can say I truly respect. Perhaps Trey Gowdy is one of them because he doesn’t even consider himself a politician: the judicial system, he says “fits his heart better.” After nearly eight years serving as a representative for South Carolina, he has announced that he will not be returning.
Selfishly, am sorry to see him go. He is one of the few representatives who seems to be able to stay above the toddler-like bickering of opposite sides to actually be productive in Washington. I believe his integrity and the excellence with which he has served has earned him the respect of both Republicans and Democrats–a rare accomplishment, indeed, in modern politics.
Rare, too, is a politician who exits at the top of his game, rather than deciding to make a career of politics: “I won’t ever run for office again,” said Gowdy. “If you leave politics, I think it’s important that you leave. I think, on balance, our framers had it right that you would serve for a season and go home.” But that requires humility, as a politician, a characteristic that seems in short supply in Washington. Gowdy’s humility is probably one reason constituents find him so likeable. When asked who should succeed him, he quipped “Almost anyone would be better.” He claims that if you saw his grades in college and law school, you would be stunned that he was in the house of representatives.
And yet, Fox News’ Martha MacCallum said that for many people, Gowdy represents something on the hill that speaks to them in a way they feel is effective. Perhaps that is because of the way Gowdy views politics: “In politics, too often winning is the only thing that matters. Every one of my heroes lost: Jesus lost a voice vote to Barrabas, Martin Luther King was assassinated, Deitrich Bonhoeffer was put to death, Abraham Lincoln lost more races than he won. I think the way we do things matters. How you conduct yourself matters. We’re in a society and culture that values winning… In politics, the objective is to win. I don’t think winning is the ultimate objective. I think the ultimate objective is to lead an honorable life.”
In my opinion, Trey Gowdy is well on his way to meeting that ultimate objective, and I am grateful for his example.