Rod Jetton: Success, Scandal & Change, Part 3-Downfall and Renewal

So far I’ve told you how I rose to power, changed our state, and lost control of my personal life.  (Click here for Part 1.)  Click here for Part 2.)

This concluding post will complete the story of how I finally got my life back on track.

I don’t know if you believe in God or not, but I DO!  In December of 2009, God finally had enough of my wayward ways and allowed my choices to get me into a situation that only he could help me through.

After spending the night with a lady I had reconnected with on Facebook, I was charged with felony assault. The press, along with my enemies, had a heyday, and I immediately shut my consulting business down.

Soon after that, I was notified that I was a target of a federal grand jury investigation surrounding my handling of a bill in the 2005 legislative session.

Needless to say I started 2010 broke, with no job, very few friends and lots of time on my hands. As bad as my troubles were at the time, looking back now, I’m thankful for them. Life passes by so quickly, and very few of us get the chance to sit down and contemplate what is important. My troubles gave me a chance to analyze my bad choices and personal weaknesses.

With my pride stripped away, I was able to honestly evaluate my past actions. I saw how foolish I had been to put my family on the back burner. I learned how bitterness toward my enemies had made me a bitter person to everyone around me. The hardest thing for me to admit was that I wasn’t the same friendly and caring guy who had gone to Jefferson City in 2000.

Most of my friends now say, “Rod you were not that bad.  You always treated everyone with respect. We liked you then and we like you now.” I’m very thankful for those friends and their support, but I know the pride that was in my heart and I know I should have handled my political fights and personal problems better.

As I mentioned earlier I’m thankful for all the successes I was a part of. I’m also thankful for all the kind people I met along the way who helped and encouraged me. But, I wish I would have worked less and stayed home more, been more forgiving and not gotten bitter at my opponents, been less prideful, less judgmental and more understanding. Plus, I wish I had lived the personal life I believed in and not been such a hypocrite.

Of course, I can’t change the past. I can only look to the future and focus on learning from my mistakes.

Life is wonderful for me now. Each morning I wake up and thank God for the day. I spend more time with my family and stay connected with and share the concerns of my friends. I have a lovely new wife, a challenging new job and a contentment I never knew in my first 42 years of life. The assault case is behind me and it appears the grand jury has suspended their investigation since the five-year statute of limitations ended in May of 2010.

Now let’s get back to what kind of posts you can expect from a guy who was king of the mountain and almost lost it all. I hope to provide you with a very candid and honest assessment of today’s political maneuverings. While I am a conservative Republican, I have seen liberal and conservatives in both parties sell out for self-interest. I have been on the inside of politics, and know it is a rough business and most everyone is just using everyone else to be king of the mountain.

Even though it sometimes sounds like I’m a bit jaded against our system, I have faith in our public servants. I’m an optimist and trust in the goodness of people. But like the old Colonel in the Marine Corps said, “Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.”

I have learned that your favorite politician is probably not as good as you think he is. But the one you hate the most is probably not as bad as you think she is. Basically, we elect good people who want to make things better, but by nature they want everyone to like them at the same time.

The public has a thousand different ideas on what they want, and even they are constantly changing. It reminds me of a line from the Roman movie Gladiator, when the emperor’s sister said about Maximus, “The mob is fickle brother, they’ll forget about him in a month.” It seems to me in America today all too often the “mob” is more selfish than the politicians they elect.

My goal will be to give you my opinion of why our officials are doing what they are doing, and who it will help or hurt the most. Hopefully we can discuss the effect of term limits on legislative bodies and how special interests impact the process. I hope to give my opinion on how I have seen rules, regulations, and taxes affect people’s wellbeing, as well as how greed by businesses and individuals have destroyed lives.

I am a conservative and I still hold strong opinions, but my time in office has taught me that credit and blame are bi-partisan issues. I also learned that those of us out of office have a bigger effect on our elected official’s actions than we think. It is important for us to debate, discuss and communicate our opinions on the issues of the day. Because their decision on those issues will determine the rules we have to live by tomorrow.  And now that my journey is more than half over I want to enjoy all God’s blessings with each day He graciously allows me to live in this great country represented by leaders who are doing their best to make this a better place to live.

 

More Rod Jetton:

For Rod’s full story, click the following links for Part 1, & Part 2; and be sure not to miss his video interview with the RP and his video Great Debate with Jeff Smith (hilarity alert!))   And don’t miss Jeff Smith’s piece on their unlikely friendship.

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