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Entering Office In Glory, Resigning In Shame

Monday, May. 2, 2011

When Nevada Senator John Ensign made his farewell speech in the Senate chambers he was virtually alone. None of the other senators were in attendance.

The joy and promise he felt when taking his oath of office provided a sharp contrast to his final words to his constituents, colleagues, and the public.

“When one takes a position of leadership, this is a very real danger of getting caught up in the hype surrounding that status. Oftentimes, the more power and prestige a person achieves, the more arrogant a person can become,” Ensign said.

In his comments he mentioned other colleagues who had resigned in shame, admitting that it was easy to see their faults but impossible to see his own. He referred to himself as” arrogant and self-centered” and had words of caution for others who serve in public office.

“My caution to all of my colleagues,” he said, “is to surround yourself with people who will be honest with you about how you really are and what you are becoming, and then make them promise to not hold back, no matter how much you may try to prevent them, from telling you the truth.”

My observation over the years has shown me how easy it is to listen to your friends, and how difficult it is to resist suggestions from well-meaning supporters.

But the true test of a friend is someone who has the courage to tell you the unvarnished truth – without weighing in about your re-election. And in return for such wise counsel, consider it carefully when you say “thank you.”

Tags: Congress, Nevada

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