The self-government called for in the first sentence of the U.S. Constitution (“we the people”) doesn’t take a breather now that the November election is over. We have lived through an interminably long presidential cycle which included debates and primaries that only introduced the less-than-stellar general election. Any thoughts having to do with political campaigning after all of that are, well, also less-than-stellar.
What comes to mind, however, is the alternative — what if we didn’t have the power to run or help other good men and women run for offices? Without question, exercising that power — running for any political office or helping someone else run — demands a good deal of energy and the assistance of friends and allies.
Seven decades ago, England’s Winston Churchill said this in the House of Common’s:
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms…
Next February 28th we have a Consolidated primary election, followed by the Consolidated election on April 4, 2017. Contested races are for offices such as municipal, township, library districts and school boards. You can see the list of other offices here.
Okay, that’s not too bad you might think — you’ve got a couple of months of rest. Wrong. Here’s the bad news: petitions are already being circulated by those who wish to be candidates. So yes, our elections are over-lapping — so much so that petition filing begins less than two weeks after the presidential election. The petition filing period for the 2017 Consolidated primary is November 21-28. Yes, 2016 — next month! The petition filing period for the Consolidated election on April 4th is December 12-19th (again, 2016!).
Many social conservatives have been less-than-happy (to say the least) at the choices they had this year for president and U.S. Senator here in Illinois. What’s needed is for many of these same people to tap into that unhappiness by turning their focus to local government — and no better target for their energies exist than your local school board.
The Illinois Family Institute’s Laurie Higgins has been chronicling some of the outrageous things going on in a couple of the Illinois school districts when it comes to so-called “transgender” students and washroom and locker room policies. You can get caught up by reading a few of Higgins’ articles abut this — you can find a list of them here; all of her articles are listed here.
While you are only one vote in a statewide or national election, you can also be the candidate for a local office. The mess in Washington, D.C., has a parallel when it comes to your local school district. Very few school boards in Illinois are being properly managed. If it’s not bathroom policies, then it’s over-promised teacher and administrator pension benefits that are bankrupting the state. Oh, and you have probably heard of Common Core.
Earlier this year I had a conversation with an individual who had just started to campaign for public office — I wanted to know what made him decide to do it. What follows is a summary of what he had to say:
Why you should run for office is the basic high school civics lesson — if you do not feel represented, you have to do something about it. If you are disappointed with the operation of your government at any level or the voting record of those you have elected, it is your duty to either run or find someone else to run that shares your values.
One of the first considerations is raising money for the campaign — and that is always a challenge. The important thing to keep in mind is that finding financial support is as much of a group effort as is volunteer support. For example, getting out the vote on election day, for even the smallest political race, is a group effort. So it is with fundraising.
This is also a challenge to social conservatives. They say they want to see common sense values guiding policy, as well as economic efficiency, but too few are willing to stand up and do something themselves.
Many people who are uninterested in politics get the same sense I do — that we have no choice and are just along for the ride on this federal, state, or local government train. The destination is in the hands of those driving the engine.
People need to be aware that is not the case. They have the opportunity, the power and even the responsibility to get up, get involved and take charge.
Too many Americans have lost the concept that we do not exist by the will of the government — the government exists by our will.
Whether you like it or not, this is your federal, state, and local government. This is your nation. It does not own you — you own it. If someone is piling up debt, enacting harmful policies and making foolish promises, you own it. You can stop it now or suffer the consequences later.
Let me conclude by saying that we all understand that there are those who are unable to either run or volunteer for local campaigns. That doesn’t leave you without a role, however. The Illinois Family Action PAC is in need of funds so it can assist the kind of candidates social conservatives want to see elected for all offices. Please consider a generous contribution today — click here to learn more and donate.
First published by Illinois Family Action.
Image credit: www.illinoisfamilyaction.org.