Guest Post: All Politics Are Local

Guest Post: All Politics Are Local

Guest Post:  All Politics Are Local

In today’s times, we are all so sick of politics. We look at Washington, DC, and either love or hate the President, love or hate Congress (mostly strong dislike), lots of dislike for politicians of all stripes. Today, I was having a conversation with a friend and when I said I had plans for this weekend of a political nature, he said, “There’s not enough real in that group….” I explained that the people I’m meeting are normal, every day folks who are passionate about their communities and I pointed out that there is a distinct difference between local and federal level politics, that the federal level involves obscene amounts of money and power.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.” ~Lord Acton

In my local community, there’s a small kerfluffle. The city manager has submitted a budget which cuts the line item for the Humane Society by half. In previous years, the Humane Society had a $125,000 contract and now, the city is looking to spend $62,500 for the HS to take in strays. The HS services about 1,000 strays locally, per year. A large segment of our city is very upset over this one cut.

Now you would wonder why I’m writing about this and prefaced my local issue with a statement on politics. The thing is, the local city budget is politics. When we go to the polls, we usually scan through the local races and pick names who sound “nice” or “friendly” or “white” or “black” or “hispanic” or we vote by party or whatever other qualifiers we use, up to and including eeny meeny miney moe for candidates we don’t know or races we don’t care about. Yes, I’m looking at all of you because we all do it in one race or another, where we just have no clue about the job or we have no preference for any particular candidate.

But when you don’t care, you get a situation where everyone is up in arms over a serious budget cut when there are so many other places to cut. A friend shared a link to the proposed budget and said, pick any of your own hated spending and find that money. It’s true. We all don’t like some spending and prefer others. As a community, we choose how that money is spent by deciding who sits in the seats who create the budgets.

I’m saying all of this because I know people don’t want to get involved in politics. I know we just want to sit on the sidelines and bitch about how wrongly everything is being done. I am writing to encourage you to use your passion and commitments to causes, ideals, support or opposition against certain legislation to get up off your butts and run. Get out there and give the rest of us more choices (even if we sometimes eeny meeny miney moe it), more voices, go talk to rotary groups, the League of Women Voters, and in my case when I ran for a county wide office, all of the small town and village and city boards. You might lose the first time. You might lose the second. You might never hold office but you will display more investment in the local legislative impact on your community than 99.9% of your friends, neighbors, and family members. All politics are local and guess what…you’re the local.

Editor’s note: Our Guest Blogger is Wendy Stewart, a conservative libertarian/Goldwater Republican/classic liberal who loves God, America, and her family. She lives in the midwest with her children and pets and has walked the walk.

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  • Toni Williams says:

    Thanks, Wendy. I might actually get more involved. You are right. You don’t even have to run. Just be a voice.

  • Amanda Green says:

    This really hits home. The town I live in is facing a tax hike for the first time in years. It isn’t a huge one. The average homeowner will pay less than $10/mo more than they are now. But you would think it was the end of the world to hear some of the residents talk. Of course, these are the same residents who don’t go to city council meetings, who pay no attention to the city budget and who have no idea how much revenue we lost for two years running because of highway construction running through town.

    These same people, instead of looking at the budget to see if there might not be some fluff to cut or looking at ways to bring more revenue to the city, want a rollback election. We had one once. Back in 2005, some of the same folks spearheaded a rollback election. The result was that our library and other so-called non-essential city services closed down. The library reopened, but only after donations were raised to cover the cost.

    This is all a long-winded way of saying thank you for getting involved and not letting the frustrations with national politics run you off. I wish more people took time to become informed about what was happening on the local level, no matter where they live.

  • Jenny North says:

    Very true Wendy. It’s hard to get involved, and harder to get people involved. But it is absolutely what needs to happen.

  • Kate says:

    I’m ready to donate to your next campaign, Wendy.

  • Wendy says:

    What’s interesting about my local budget situation is that the city got a $500,000+ grant & promptly found all kinds of ways to spend it but left the cut to the Humane Society. It’s pretty shocking across the whole political spectrum, probably because love for animals is not a partisan issue.

    I was never really aware of the political process until I ran and having sewn how the sausage is made, I’m very invested in seeing others get involved or at least more educated on what happens.

  • Lisa Carr says:

    So true, Wendy. It’s safe to stand back and keep a neutral stance locally. It’s dangerous but more rewarding to step out and be a voice. Made me think to pay more attention to the smaller picture which feeds into the bigger picture.

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you Wendy! I’ve been saying exactly this FOR YEARS. Local politics are what have the largest impact on your life and community. Get involved, or shut up and sit down. No one likes an armchair QB.

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