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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Think small

Thank you for the excellent comment Athanasius;

"Might I suggest the power of local government though the participation of a whole community. Everyone is obsessed with what goes on in D.C., which has nothing to do with the decisions we make. If we vote for A we get B, and if we vote for B we get A.

If people paid attention to their local government, and say, 10,000 people picketed the mayor or 1st selectman every time he did something that gave big business or big government more power, there would be results! If 3rd parties got started by running and creating awareness at the state level, we could accomplish Distributist goals on a small scale, and put us in place at a national level to be recognizable. 3rd parties don't get traction because no one knows who they are. Suppose they started running locally in all 50 states? They might win more often.

Your post is right on. We are Catholic first, not Americans or Republicans. That doesn't mean we can't love our country or be patriotic, but we must put the Church advocates (the Church universal) ahead of what Rush Limabaugh advocates because the social kingship of Jesus Christ is more important than the 1st amendment."

Local political involvement should become the preferred approach in combating 'big government.' However, I'll bet most people don't even know who their local mayor, country commissioner or board of supervisors' members are. Would you know who to picket if the town wanted to seize your house by eminent domain? As a newspaper intern or stringer, I covered many township meetings. Often the board members were my grandfathers age and had held their position for over a decade. I was sometimes the only non-township employee at the meeting and if I had company it was a resident older than the board members or someone looking to build a deck or complain about the trash on a neighbors lawn. It's not until a Wal-Mart tries to set up shop that local government meetings get any attendance at all. If we want to work from the bottom up, and bring distributism to our neighborhoods (and eventually our country), there's a easy way to do it. All we have to do is care about our local government because not many other people do.

1. Start attending meetings. Yes, they can be boring as hell, but you will learn tons about the area in which you live.
2. Get to know the board members. They'll probably notice you if you're a regular attendee. Most will be happy to discuss local goings on.
3. Get to know the people in your town. Community involvement through Chambers of Commerce, volunteering, work the polls, hang out at the local diner, etc.
4. Run for a local government position; start small. These elections are nothing more than popularity contests. It will be easier if a position is opening up-you might not have anyone to run against. It will be harder to oust an incumbent as most people don't care who serves and they will vote for the status quo. Sadly, most voters are ignorant about local officials and their duties so they don't even show up on election day. You will have to present convincing evidence on why this person shouldn't be where he/she is, for example, they approved the destruction of the orphanage for *another* strip club. If you can rally enough friends or outrage enough people who show up to vote, you'll win.
5. Once in office, your opportunities for promoting the cause may be limited but you'll certainly be gaining experience and making more friends who will help you on your way up the ladder. You'll also have the opportunity to convince other like minded individuals the importance of local government involvement and hopefully bring some onto the payroll with you.

It will be much easier to get Catholics, Distributists, etc. into state office if they've made their name in their hometown. If you don't want to hold office, than by all means, at least stay informed and organize against causes contrary to our true faith. Someone has to start the petition, march on the state capital and stand up against some of these local officials who think a county position gives them the right to ignore the wishes of the voters and in many cases, keep them in the dark about what is going on. Learn about Sunshine Laws and the Freedom of Information Act and hold officials responsible for what they do. Given our current system, a third party candidate has no chance, usually, in the presidential election. However, a third party candidate is just another candidate at the local level where party allegiance is not crucial. Let's take back our country one municipality, one town, one city and one state at a time.