The Most Important Government
By Jason Lawrence, NLC Orlando, 2017
Gridlock in Washington and in state capitals, now spanning two decades, has led to frustration, and increasing levels of apathy among young voters across the political spectrum.
But the mindless squabbles among Baby Boomers, and “Gen Z” shouldn’t be a deterrent in organizing your coalition, whoever that may include, around getting things done. That’s because the most effective and responsive level of government is right in your backyard.
Civics coursework, in high school and even in college, woefully gloss over the power of local governments, and the elected officials and experienced administrators who turn the most transformative ideas into actual public policies.
In fact, each of the major policy changes witnessed by our generation – from criminal justice and drug policy reform, civil liberties for LGBTQA’s, and most recently gun control – saw their genesis in City Halls around the Country.
As Americans grow more eager to chart a clear course forward for their country, it’s important to know that City Hall does more than just deliver basic services to our communities, such as clean water, and garbage collection. The work of local government official including Mayors, City Commissioners, and City Managers, and the citizens to whom they are entrusted has always been the framework public policy at the national level. It is absolutely the most part of American government and democracies everywhere.
So, turn off CNN, MSNBC and Fox News to escape temporarily from the echo chamber of national politics. Tune in to your local government access channel if you’re truly invested in creating a better world. Find out the date of the next City Commission meeting. Contact your Mayor and City Manager to schedule a meeting on issues in your neighborhood. Inquire about the next public meeting on your City or County’s annual budget, in which you’ll truly learn about the trajectory of your community.
Do this because such as with any positive change you wish to evoke in the world around you, it always starts at home.