Who is your State Representative?
Who is your State Senator?
What is your Congressional District?
Who represents you on City Council or on the County Commissioners?
What is your school board district?
What was the last campaign you worked on in a serious way?
Our inclination has been to point fingers at our politicians, but perhaps we are the ones to blame. At the end of the day, we are the ones who elect our government. The reality of democracy is that I am responsible for what happens in my city, state or nation. Plato, the founder of the first higher institution of learning in the western world, wrote, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
I had to come to grips that I was just like many of the people I pastor and many in our community. I was guilty of not engaging in an institution that has a huge impact on my family and me. I’ve been asleep at the wheel and had the nerve to be upset at others because my car was swerving and the road has become unsafe.
Democracy was never intended to be the inherently passive activity that has evolved.
If sane, pragmatic, moderate, common sense, thinking people ignore politics because they are disgusted with the outcomes, then it merely leaves a vacuum to be filled by even more extreme and less qualified candidates which parenthetically is exactly why you have a Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican candidate for the highest office in this nation.
Don’t misunderstand me, governing is hard. I am sure many involved may be wrongly thinking I am suggesting this is easy. I am clear that it is not. Whenever we are making decisions that are communal, it is difficult. Ask any family to agree on what movie to see or your significant other to agree on the weekend activities and we quickly see the challenge of consensus. Now, imagine nearly ten million people in the state of North Carolina and the tens of thousands here in eastern North Carolina all trying to agree on issues of education, economy, healthcare, housing, social policy, taxes and many other issues in the context of varying opinions and ideologies. We must insert ourselves in this complicated process. Admittedly, the involvement of smart, thoughtful people is no guarantee for better government, but surely the absence of them will make even worse government imminent.
Edmund Burke, the eighteenth century political theorist said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Similarly, all that is necessary for poor governance to continue is for well-intentioned, common sense citizens to disengage from the process.
I am running for political office because I believe:
- There is unprecedented potential for economic growth in Eastern North Carolina
- The role of government is to only do what the private sector cannot or will not do
- Those in gated communities are no more valuable than those in public housing
- Healthcare should be affordable and accessible
- Our children should be educated in school systems that produce critical thinkers and not simply good test takers
- There is a place for capital and social entrepreneurism to exist in the same marketplace
- Our policies should empower people with opportunity and not enable them to live irresponsibly
- A division of powers should govern us and not special interest or personal agenda
- Race should never be an inherit advantage or disadvantage
- The heart and the brain can coexist in public policy
- Toilets and locker room legislation should not be in the same bill as employment discrimination, a living wage and protection of labor abuses
- We cannot borrow from the future. If I am eating dinner tonight, I don’t get to leave the check on the table for the next family
- Not for profits including the faith community must be valued partners in our efforts
- We will be held accountable to God for every meeting, every deliberation, and every vote
It seems our political process has lost its way. How many times have we heard, “just do the right thing.” The truth is the right thing for me may not be the right thing for you. We need to be honest about this and many of our local elected officials have not been. The truth is if we are to have real progress there must be trade-offs and there will even be side effects. This is the case with everything worth doing. This is a concept we understand in private life but seem to lose all common sense when applied in political life. What cancer patient doesn’t understand that they may have to be treated with chemotherapy and if so there will be a potential loss of hair or severe vomiting? A decision is made that the side effect is better than having the cancer.
In 1787 fifty-five delegates from thirteen states (including five delegates from North Carolina) met to frame the United States Constitution because the individual states lacked uniformity. What followed was a series of compromises, most of which began as profoundly objectionable to some faction or another. Nothing is more disingenuous to North Carolina politics than leading by playing the role of the bully and not Statesmen seeking real resolution and a legitimate path forward.
I want to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem. As for me, I am attempting to have my name placed on the ballot as an Unaffiliated (Independent) candidate in the General Election for NC House District 25. If you live in Nash County or Franklin County District 25 I would ask you come to 9121 West Mount Dr. Rocky Mount, NC to sign the petition or to pick up a petition and solicit signatures on my behalf. Our goal is 4,000 signatures on or before June 14, 2016. If you do not live in NC House District 25 then I invite you to share this blog and my appeal with people you have access to or influence with. For your convenience, you can click here to check your NC House District.
What will you do to become more involved in our political process?
As always, I welcome your feedback.