A week ago Tuesday, August 2nd, I had the privilege of going to the polls in my home state of Michigan for our local primaries. I had a “rival” turned friend seeking re-election as a Township Trustee in my hometown. The Saturday before the primary I did some last minute campaigning for her, as well – which is kind of a big deal because I vehemently dislike being around large groups of people, let alone literally parading through them.
Now, before it sounds like I am bragging about my extraordinary contributions to this election cycle, there is a point to my bragging about my extraordinary contributions to this election cycle. As I have mentioned before, I cannot support Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. So, I will spend my time ensuring that good people get elected at the state and local levels. A favorite saying of mine is, “when the federal government fails, the states pick up the slack.” I am not sure if somebody coined that phrase first, but in the universe of my writings it is my quote.
I think it is common knowledge the federal government is failing. It has been for a long time. And with our current choices for President, we look to have no reprieve from the failure. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the end.
The founders knew that trouble could come, so they built a fail safe: the states. They have powers. That is the whole point of states: to protect their individual citizens in the way best suited to those citizens. The states also have the privilege of the local governments. No level of government hits closer to home than the local level. As soon as members of the city council, the township board, the village council, etc., step out of their place of meeting they are in their district. It takes a couple minutes to drive to the city, township, or village hall and sit in on a meeting. The values of the local municipality reflect the values of the citizens. It gives us direct control.
We, the electorate, need to take a hard look in the mirror. Where do we draw the line? After all, it falls on us to elect these people. I hear so much blame passed around, but it never seems to rest on us, the voter. How is it that a Congress with such a low approval rating has such a fantastic re-election rate?
It is so easy to blame the politicians for the mess, but in the end the responsibility falls on us. When asked what form of government the founding fathers have given us, Benjamin Franklin is famously quoted saying, “a Republic, if you can keep it.” This is why we cannot have nice things! It falls on us.
I am a part of the problem. I am a terribly flawed man who struggles with anxiety, depression, and just a general aversion for engaging people. Yet, if I can get out and walk a parade for a candidate I think deserves to be a public servant, then why are you still sitting at home? I served as a Precinct Delegate and I was on the Executive Committee for my county GOP. I did not do near enough while in those positions. I have not given up, though. I am still pushing ahead.
We need to keep our Republic, folks! It does not fall on the next President, Supreme Court, or the next Congress. It falls on us. In the end, we are the last line of defense.