By Sam Burnham
Let's face it, you're tired of this election cycle. I know this because you're human and, in all likelihood, not running for president. Since I fit those categories and I'm tired of it, I'm assuming that you are too. There's not much we can do about the state of American politics this year. It's pretty much a cesspool fire that just really can't get much more disgusting. While we can't really do anything about this year, we can try to do a few things to keep something like this from happening again.
The Presidency has become such a powerful position that unsavory people with insatiable lusts for power and prestige are drawn to it like flies to...well...you know. Every four years we find ourselves choosing the lesser of evils to try to keep the worst of evils from winning. We've just finally reached the point where the evils have become unbearable and there's no honest hope that anything will improve in the 2020 election. So it's time to try something different.
Which brings us to the Norman Rockwell painting. Painted in the 1940s, it depicts Freedom of Speech. We see a man, from his clothes and his hands a working class man standing in the company of his neighbors and other members of his community. The other community members appear to come from different backgrounds. Men in coats and ties are watching and listening.
The man appears to be addressing the town council or perhaps the local school board. Whichever body it is, it's safe to assume they are elected representatives that are listening to the advice and concerns of the electorate. In this case the electorate is present to address the government in person. There's no need for calls the elected will never hear or emails they'll never read. The concerns of the people are front and center. They are, in fact, the very reason for the meeting. The decisions aren't being made in some far distant fortress of apathy in which disconnected lawmakers decide matters for people they'll never meet, never listen to, never care about.
We've assembled far too much power in far distant places. We have no access to our government. We need decisions that are made closer to home by people who truly understand the unique issues that our state and our communities face. The idea of treating a vast and diverse nation as there's on solution to every problem is silly. What works in Georgia might not work in Oregon. And what works in Johns Creek might not work in Waycross.
There are issues to deal with at the federal level. They are limited and specifically enumerated in the Constitution. There are issues that are reserved for the states. And there are issues in which an informed and concerned electorate of men in coats and ties and men in flannel with calloused hands (and ladies) need to stand, present their cases to a council made up of their neighbors, and be heard. This is government of, by, and for the people. This is government that can't ever exist in Washington.
We have to make decisions and govern closer to home. Government must become more local. This is is the answer to the 2016 problem.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire