George Washington rarely made speeches. Abraham Lincoln’s most famous address ran just 271 words. Teddy Roosevelt famously said you should talk softly but carry a big stick. Whatever else one thinks of them, they were men who let their actions speak louder than their words.
Unfortunately, too many politicians in the modern era rank talk ahead of action. They want applause for their words, without having to suffer the indignity of working to make them real. Too many in elected office want to be judged by what they have said, rather than what they have substantively accomplished.
Modern politicians seem to have an almost pathological compulsion to resist delivering on campaign promises.
Our republic could do with a little less talking and a lot more doing. Citizens and taxpayers have been demanding important reforms for years. Politicians pay lip service to the ideas when campaigning, but don’t seem to find the time to actually get them done.
As an aside, that might be why Donald Trump was so hated by so many in the political establishment. Yes, he talked a lot. Yes, his words were sometimes poorly considered or ill-timed. And yet, he got a lot done.
A lot of Republicans are talking tough now that a Democrat has moved into the White House, which is all fine and good, but what does it actually mean for the citizens in our republic. Will their work live up to their rhetoric?
The Apostle James wrote, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?”
James, of course, was writing about a faith that isn’t backed up by matching actions. I once had a pastor, in discussing James’ words, tell our congregation that he could hear what someone says they believe, or he could look at their calendar and checkbook to know for certain what they believed.
His point, of course, was that talk is cheap, but how we spend our time and money – our actions – tend to show our real heart.
The same is true in politics. What good are politicians’ promises to do good, when they don’t actually do it?
Citizens in our self-governing republic should be less interested in what our public servants say and more focused on what they do… or fail to do. A politician can tickle our ears all day long with promises to do our bidding, but the proof of their commitment to liberty is found in what actually gets done.