MILITARY AS ROLE MODEL
“Americans have given the military the highest confidence rating of any institution in American society for nearly two decades,” writes Frank Newport, director of the Gallup poll, which finds that the public continues to revere the traditional, old-school values of our fighting forces.
Numbers-wise, 93 percent call the military “personally courageous,” 91 percent say our troops are professional, 82 percent call them honest and ethical, 80 percent say they are innovative. Another 78 percent have “a great deal or quite a bit” of confidence in the military.
Lawmakers can learn a thing or two from those in uniform.
“What could members of Congress who are worried about their low standing in the public’s eye learn from the military? One insight simply comes down to competence — that is getting the job done well — obviously a trait many Americans ascribe to the military, but few to Congress, with the latter’s current 20 percent job approval rating,” writes Mr. Newport.
“Another insight comes from the public’s view of members of the military as being courageous, selfless and being willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Previous research shows that Americans, in contrast, view members of Congress as being responsive not to the collective will of the people, but to special interests, lobbyists and partisan leaders. There are other lessons to be learned, but the bottom line is the real value of perceived competency and professionalism for any institution that seeks to establish legitimacy and to better its standing in the eyes of the people it serves,” Mr. Newport advises.