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The Case for Making Local Government Sexy Again
Liberty must start locally
“The closer government is to the people, the more accountable it is.” — Jesse Ventura
When I first made the decision to say “goodbye” to the world of partisan politics to chase liberty, I received numerous messages from readers and social media followers who were like me: Fed up with a Republican Party that had abandoned its core tenets ages ago. In one case, a Twitter follower reached out to me through direct message, telling me that he is “done with both parties” and that “neither of those criminal factions will ever receive my vote again.”
He further explained:
Not sure I’m ready to jump into the libertarian bandwagon just yet but I’m certainly exploring that option. I don’t know how much my anti-establishment vote will count in upcoming elections but at least I’ll be part of the solution not the problem.
Note, one does not have to be a member of the Libertarian Party or even call themselves a libertarian to promote liberty. I’ll delve more into this later.
Local government is the most overlooked form of authority in the United States. Yet, it is arguably the most important.
This is a reality that Americans used to understand in days past. People knew who their mayors were. They were familiar with the local sheriffs and judges who governed their cities and towns.
But my, how things have changed.
Now, our eyes are fixated on the goings on in Washington, D.C. We eagerly devour news reports about the latest press conference given by the President of the United States. Americans scour social media for the latest sensational utterance from a member of Congress. Sometimes, we even pay attention to important, or controversial, Supreme Court cases such as Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed states to once again decide how it would handle the legality of abortion.
The media feeds this trend, constantly buzzing about Republican and Democratic lawmakers who eagerly give buzzworthy soundbites to the talking heads about the latest scandal or controversy. Sometimes, actual legislation becomes a part of the conversation. Establishment news outlets might also report on the latest situation involving the individual who occupies the White House.
Let’s face it: Local politics just isn’t sexy enough anymore.
But in the times in which we are currently living, I believe local politics is even more important than it was in the past. With the federal government — along with most state governments — growing increasingly intrusive, local politics is the only bulwark against the trend of overreach we are seeing in America today.
Indeed, through nullification, cities and towns can render unconstitutional laws enacted by the federal or state governments null and void. This has already happened in a number of important examples. During the COVID-19 pandemic, sheriffs all across the country refused to enforce restrictive lockdown orders in defiance of state law, which meant that people could make their own decisions as to how they would handle the coronavirus.
Most recently, in Illinois, whose government passed an absurd assault weapons ban, sheriffs all across the state said “no, thank you” and announced that they would not be enforcing these laws, meaning the state’s residents can still possess these firearms. Anarchist commentator Larken Rose sums up the significance of this situation nicely:
Rose notes how this overstep actually helped the liberty movement because it planted the seed of noncompliance in the minds of Illinois resident. For the first time, many of these people were introduced to the idea that just because a state passes a law, it does not necessarily mean the populace has to abide by it.
I was recently in Johnson County, Texas for an event and I had a conversation with a deputy sheriff who told me the county is a sanctuary for the Second Amendment. This means the sheriff, an elected position, has declared that he will not enforce any unconstitutional gun control laws and will fire any deputy under his watch that attempts to do so.
This is why your local government is so important. At this point, the idea of kicking out all the slimy, sleazy politicians in the D.C. swamp is a futile endeavor. The federal government is gone for the foreseeable future.
State governments, to a lesser degree, are in the same situation. While there are still a lot of good folks in state legislatures and governors offices, most are only there to amass and maintain their power. The harsh reality that we must face is that folks like you and I don’t have a voice at the federal and state level. But we sure as hell have a voice at the local level.
In days past, local governance was seen as most important; especially since America did not yet have this bloated leviathan of a federal government. It was easier to focus on one’s city officials because the national state simply did not have enough power to matter — a concept with which we are definitely familiar, but have never experienced if we are living in 2023.
Local governments are part of the building blocks of society. As the government closest to the people, it is also the most accountable. The President of the United States will likely never hear your voice. But your mayor most certainly will if you choose to exercise it to its fullest.
If the liberty movement seeks to affect change across the country and spread the principles of liberty, local government is one of several avenues we must leverage to this end. Local officials are elected by the residents of its city and represent the interests of those who are willing to turn out to influence these elections. If more liberty-focused residents turn out during election season, it will have a local government focused on getting out of people’s way and protecting it from the excesses of the federal and state authorities. To put it simply, it will be a government that actually focuses on the interests of the people who put it into power.
Secondly, local officials are more accountable because of their proximity to the everyday citizen. It is far easier to oust a mayor or city council member than it is to get rid of an authoritarian governor or corrupt senator. Yes, local governance has its issues — none are perfect. But for people who are engaged in the process, addressing these officials is far more doable.
I have been preaching about the importance of local government for years. I have emphasized how people should get invovled in their communities on a governmental and cultural level. On the Republican side, some understand this concept, but few practice it. The same holds true for Democrats. Local elections are typically decided by a few thousand votes. This means that if the liberty movement can mobilize and galvanize a grassroots base, it will not be terribly difficult to take over as many cities as possible — even with Republicans and Democrats being entrenched.
Once we have more liberty-focused officials in office, they can begin implementing actual solutions to people’s problems instead of just finding new and creative ways to make the government more powerful.
If you are like my Twitter follower, you might feel that you have no voice. You might feel like you’re being ignored by your part and that your concerns are going unheard.
Unfortunately, you are right. The Democrats and Republicans do not care about you. They serve themselves and themselves only. If you want to keep both of these authoritarian parties from using the power of the state to subjugate you, we must focus locally before we tackle the other levels of government.
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My first book “Chasing Liberty: A Journey from Partisan Politics to the Fight for Freedom” will be published on Monday, March the 13th!
In the book, I tell my story of how I came to the liberty movement and how others who are disaffected with the Republican and Democratic parties can begin promoting liberty at the local level. Please place your pre-order and support my work! I appreciate y’all! Be sure to leave your email or physical address when you pre-order!
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