For an entire generation now, Americans have awarded the country’s volunteer military force with the highest confidence rating of any national institution.
Congress, on the other hand, not so much, based on its chronic perceived inability to perform the work widely seen as necessary.
Oh, look! More examples this week as the Senate, whose members call themselves the world’s greatest deliberative body, proved incapable of repealing or fixing the sinking Obamacare insurance scheme. Despite majority control being held by the same party as the president and seven years of promises.
So, what if anything could the institution of Congress, whose job approval is mired at or below 20%, learn from studying the institution of the U.S. military? Not that it would, mind you. But if Congress cared or could, what lessons are there to be grasped?
Gallup has just done an analysis from its polling of perceptions of the military. It found that fully 78% of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the military.
They see the military as having a vital role in national security. They see its leaders as professional and courageous, and their units as well-run, skilled and, above all, effective.
Well, one lesson is competence, doing its job and doing it well. Respondents listed a wide variety of reasons for their high regard for the military. Among those were the military protects our freedoms and keeps fellow citizens safe (26%).
Twenty-two percent said they were brave, selfless volunteers who are reliable and disciplined. And 22% said their impression came from the service of a family member or themselves.
Significantly, those who have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the military listed reasons built on the individuals and their values and commitment. Only one percent attributed their confidence to high tech or excellent weaponry.
Americans felt pretty strongly — 93% said Very Well or Somewhat — that military leadership is personally courageous. Ninety-one percent said the same about “Professional,” 84% “Trustworthy,” 80% said “innovative,” 82% “Honest” and 82% “Ethical.”
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.
So, of all these admirable traits which ones can you currently attribute to members of Congress? Never mind.