One of the glories of our governmental system, I always thought, was that those who served did so out of a desire to help their fellow beings, and not for fame, loot, or power. I had in mind Washington and Jefferson, aristocrats who devoted themselves to a noble cause; Lincoln the self-made man who ruined (and lost) his life serving others; and a host of other figures whose creed was to serve. It didn't bother me too much that the Brahmins in office usually regarded those they helped as being little better than peasants. Their vision was still one in which the populace, the unwashed, the proles, hoi polloi, were still bettering themselves.
I would contrast this vision with the reality of government in other countries, when political office was the key to the bank, and corruption was the rule. The people? Let them eat cake.
I guess, though, that we are catching up to the rest of the world. I am a resident of the state of Utah, based on a set of governmental postulates (in turn based on a set of religious postulates) which make service to one's fellow beings the highest calling one can have. One of the state's highest elected officials may be, in blunt terms, a crook who sold influence and shielded the very people he should have been putting in jail. He resigned just ahead of a lynch mob, but waited long enough to be sure he got his pension funded.