Cynics say the system is rigged. All politicians are crooks. I disagree. Most newly elected politicians are honest, altruistic people who face a huge dilemma.

They need to be in office to achieve anything of value to society. But when they strive toward real solutions to the problems our country faces today, they risk not being reelected. Many cease voting their conscience. To improve their reelection chances they vote as instructed by their party leadership. When it gets to that point, it’s just a job for them.

Former Sen. Jeff Flake said, “You can go elsewhere for a job. But you cannot go elsewhere for a soul.” So true. And how sad it is that in today’s rancorous political climate so many basically honest elected officials must choose between expediency and conscience. Or give up and quit.

Steve Banta, Lynnwood