Thursday, January 26, 2012
Politics is local
As a youngblood, I had the wonderful opportunity to work for a local politician who was running for a Congressional seat. We were also supporting another candidate who was running for State Senate. I just turned 16 and it was such an eye opener for me. When I watched Marshall Curry's "Street Fight," those memories came flooding back. I learned two lessons from my time working in a campaign. The first one is that politics is a dirty business. I can understand how someone with noble intentions can go in and become a snake. The business will do that to someone. The second lesson is that politics is local.
During presidential elections, it seems like every other person on the street is an expert. Everywhere I go, folks wax poetic about their candidate or the other person's candidate. People get into it as bad as Superbowl picks. Yet when I ask them who their state senator or their congressperson is, they are mum. What's up with that?
I listen to liberals and conservatives alike talk about the constitution and why their party rocks but they can't tell you what the First Amendment actually says. They can tell you why they like Presidential candidate A but can't tell you their governor's first name. I have traveled to other countries and when it comes to local politics, folks go hard. During mid term elections in this country, the polls are empty.
I look at Presidential elections like beauty pageants. The person who looks and talks the best gets the most air time. The one with the best slogans and photo ops gets the most shine. The President actually has the least amount of influence in your city. It's the mayors (if your mayor has executive powers), city council people (if you have a ward system in your city), state congress people and state senators, and finally congress people in Washington. While Congress has popularity numbers that are at an all time low, NO ONE is pushing to get any of those folks out of there.
In my opinion, that's why things are dire when it comes to politics. We weren't paying attention and what belongs to us has been sold piece by piece. I have seen City Council people have secret meetings and no one say a word. I have seen Congress people take stacks of dough that they knew was dirty money. I have watched elected school board officials drive out good teachers and effective administrators and no one lift a finger. That's real and that's something we can fight very quickly with only a few people.
The power is always within the people, we just have to remind the politicians of that.