One of the things I find most important is local politics. Within the pantheon of national politics, state politics, and local politics, the one
that deserves most attention is local, followed by state, then national below them all in importance to our every day lives.
I am convinced of this and believe that this was what the Founders had in mind when they created our great nation. The reason: this is where we live. We can only really reside in one place, and the happenings there are of far greater import than anywhere else. And, the taxes we pay, the policies that affect how we can build our home, where our kids go to school, what our roads look like, etc. all are created at the local level.
Of course the state and the feds play a role, but the ultimate decision on the requirements for your trash pick up happens in city of county hall.
Yet, local politics gets overlooked. People just don’t seem to care about what happens at this level, and it certainly does not get the media attention it deserves. Sure, few major papers are going to care what happens in Greencastle, IN, but the people there need to follow these events if the town wants to thrive. Greencastle, by the way, is home to DePauw University, a small liberal arts college of about 2,000 students.
I currently live in a town of about 30,000 people, and this town makes up the lion’s share of people in the county. There is tension here between the county and the city, which also holds a university. A university brings more liberal people. I think I live in the most liberal precinct in the entire state, but people in the county do not trust the people in the city to act in their best interest because of that.
Up for vote this season are two county commissioners of three. Currently, Republicans hold two of the three seats, and one of the two seats up for bid. If Democrats win the two open seats, this could radically change the policy direction of my town and county. With everything going on in nearby Colorado, there is real concern among conservatives that my county may go the direction of our southern neighbor.
These trends are important in considering the importance of local races and offices. Learn the people in those offices, learn the issues, and become involved. Albany County is not alone in these trends, even if every location’s issues are different, so what happens at your local level is vital to your quality of life.
Also, if you are interested, run! As a city councilman, or coroner, or whatever, you can make a big difference. If your town is already liberal, run! You can help stem the tide and return to sanity.
What happens nationally is important, but what happens at your local level affects you more than what happens out of Washington, DC. Get involved. We’ll be better for it.