Bringing Politics Home
In Kevin Miller’s excellent book, “Freedom Nationally, Virtue Locally,” he makes the case for maintaining the moral character of the civil society through the policies and practices we implement close to home, on the city, county, and state levels, while reinforcing the central purpose of the Federal Government–which is to protect the liberty of the individual–in national policy. Miller’s premise is particularly germane in the wreck-strewn wake of the 2012 election. The Executive Branch and the Senate seem to have spun out of the control of We the People. There appears to be not simply a lack of virtue in Washington D.C., but an outright madness blinding the good and impelling the bad in the power grab of the age.
The reasonably conscious person is aware that the power of the people to control the Federal Government has been wrenched away. We are all grasping for a way to reestablish our influence over government policies that affect our lives. We’re all wondering if we have any say at all in our own destinies. These are the times that try men’s souls. This is the time to bring politics home.
In “Freedom Nationally, Virtue Locally,” Kevin Miller differentiates between the kind of virtue you get close to home and that which the behemoth bureaucracy of the centralized government imposes. Laws implemented by state and local governments have a more immediate effect and so are better suited to encourage the lawful and healthy behaviors and interactions of its citizens. The states, for instance, have tackled moral issues such as legalized pot and gay marriage. Though it is absolutely insane to encode these ideas into law, if it is to be done the states are the places to do it.
Colorado recently legalized the use and possession of recreational pot. Within the Colorado State Constitution lie provisions which allow counties and cities to eschew such initiatives if they so choose to do so by a vote of the people. As an example of bringing morality even closer to home, Mesa County (my digs) in Western Colorado, is preparing to place a moratorium on the marijuana business just legalized by the state. In other words, the state can legalize, regulate, and tax the commercial distribution of marijuana, but the county cannot be forced to allow any of it within its jurisdictional boundaries.
As a citizen of Mesa County, Colorado, U.S.A., I can influence county policy with much more direct force than I can the state or the federal government. If my locality fails to encourage the moral society which I prefer, I can vote with my feet and move to Utah, or North Dakota, or whatever town in whatever state reflects values and virtues that are closer to my own.
Conversely, the centralized government defines virtue by completely different criteria. What policies win the applause of the Left for being compassionate and good when they’re handed down from D.C.? Climate change legislation, free health care for all, the Dream Act, tax hikes that punish achievers, gun control laws, yada, yada, yada. The sweeping powers of the Federal Government to control human behavior through taxation, regulation, and intrusions on our rights through agencies that police everything from light bulbs to soda pop, impose virtues through the restriction of our liberties. The virtue encouraged by the centralized government is akin to the rejected plan of Lucifer that got him jettisoned out of Heaven. Allow no one to act of his own volition for fear that he might make a mistake and cause the Devil (legislators) look incompetent.
Patriots who understand the meaning and purpose of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution reject what the D.C. establishment has become. It’s an obscene parody of the Republic that Benjamin Franklin feared we could not keep. Like an amoeba it wraps itself around everything it touches, absorbing it, leaving behind no indication that its prey ever existed, save for its own distended form. Compounding the problems of a government that has grossly overgrown its bounds is the corruption that extends into every branch and agency. This corruption is not just the dirty dealings of slimy politicians and bureaucrats bent on keeping their jobs come hell or high water. Our federal government is corrupted by bad laws which encourage immorality and feed on the vices of its citizenry; the Warren Court’s assault on religion in schools, Roe vs. Wade, the anti-marriage, anti-man welfare system. The list of laws and regulations designed to reward sloth and punish achievement, reward sexual immorality and punish marriage, and reward godlessness and punish religious observance, have overtaken our civil statutes. The cancers of immorality and ignorance that are killing our nation started at the head and are metastasizing to the rest of the body.
Bringing politics home by focusing grassroots efforts on local races and issues serves a number of crucial purposes. First, it applies passionate activism where it has the most potential to make positive change. Second, over time the moral character of a town or county can be shaped by the type of people who participate in civic activities. It is possible to take a town that is failing morally or fiscally and actually turn it around if the right people are exerting their pull. This can happen quickly in the states as well with strong leadership, as it has in Wisconsin with Scott Walker at the helm. Third, with proper credit given to the genius of the Federalist system created by the Constitutional Convention in 1787, states and the localities within them can have a measure of prosperity and safety even as the federal government falters.
The Obama Administration appears to be hopelessly corrupted by sinister ideologies and dirty politics. An epidemic of voter fraud accounts, at least in part, for Romney’s shocking loss of the presidential race. And it is the fear in the hearts of many patriots that Washington D.C. has become more a threat to human liberty than its protector. Although the consequences of the moral failure of American culture are troubling, the thing that gives me hope is the God-inspired system of Federalism and the power allotted of the individual states to determine their own directions. I believe it is possible for sound communities of faithful and good people to prosper, even in times of national darkness.