“For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeteers, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conquerors rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.”
⁃ General George S. Patton
The slave should have also been whispering in the ears of the conqueror’s assistants as they are even more likely to fall victim to the praise of the crowd.
Today they are the gatekeepers. Tomorrow they are the beggars.
If there is but one piece of advice I can give to political staffers it’s this. Whether they are working on a campaign or in a legislative or executive office I find that political staffers often forget that they are simply a wagon hitched to a horse and not the horse itself. Without that horse they are stagnant.
If glory is fleeting for the horse and the horse is creating all the movement, what do you think happens to the wagon?
It simply sits and rots.
How political staffers treat people while they are the gatekeeper determines what happens when they are no longer hitched to the conquer. They could be picked up by the next conquer or they can be left to rot.
Far too often we see political staffers walk around Washington or campaign events like they are the most important person in the world. “I work for so and so” we hear. Yeah, but so and so won’t always be there. Then what? You won’t always have that power because the power isn’t even with you today.
How you treat people when you yield the power given to you by the fleeting politician determines how you will be treated when that politician is gone. You will be loved or you will be despised.
I suggest finding someone to whisper “glory is fleeting” in your ear a few times each week. Post it on your fridge. Tattoo it on your arm.