local

Dirty Sexy (Local) Politics – Updated

THIS VIDEO was sent to me recently, outlining the amazing ground organization that has been coordinated in Wisconsin.  Given the victories there over the past couple of years, I believe it’s worth studying what has happened in Wisconsin in order to replicate it elsewhere.  

This is important for two reasons.  First, conservative and liberty activists seem to be ready at the drop of a hat to complain about federal issues and the administration; but they’re far less likely to engage in local and state level politics. Second, conservatives are getting victories at the state level – just check the number of Republican legislatures and governors.  The right wins when it fights on familiar ground, in their own backyards.

The Culture War is paramount, I still believe that.  We need to fight there, and hard.  But we can’t forget the elections side of the equation.  And now is the time – primaries begin in less than a year, and we have a lot of building (and rebuilding) to do.  So I’m reposting this from last April.  I think we all need to consider what we can do at the local level to advance the cause of liberty.  And then we need to commit to doing it.  Forever.

-fishie
One of my greatest frustrations from being in conservative politics is seeing so much energy and buzz about national candidates and issues, and so little emphasis on local races and problems. Everyone wants to talk national issues, everyone wants to toss tomatoes at Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama. Very few people want to look in their own backyard and fix things. I’m taking a wild swing at the reasons here, but my suspicions include:

  • Local issues are not usually as attention-grabbing (sexy)
  • Local issues are handled by different government structures in different places, making translation to other places difficult
  • Local issues are over “small things”
  • Local issues often don’t have well-known villains
  • Local issues take a lot of time to understand the details
  • Local issues involve people who live nearby, who one might meet and have to face
  • Local issues are, well, local

I certainly understand people involved up to their eyeballs in the national scene; the country is obviously on a bobsled to hell. Still, while so much attention is being paid to national issues, local governments and municipalities are slipping some very bad things into law.

Last year, Houston passed the Feeding Ordinance over the objection of groups like:

  • Clear Lake Tea Party
  • Houston Food Not Bombs
  • Harris County Green Party
  • Harris County Libertarian Party
  • Harris County Republican Party
  • Occupy Houston
  • Houston Tea Party Society
  • Texas Public Policy Foundation
  • West Houston Assistance Ministries
  • Houston Property Rights Association

Where else in the world would you see a coalition made up of such disparate groups?

Houston is beginning to pay attention to its local leadership. Within a half hour of the ordinance passing, a petition drive was started between all the opposing groups to reverse it. That level of coordination has never been seen on the local level, and should have signaled long before the ordinance passed that it was wildly unpopular, except perhaps with large developer firms. Firms that just happen to fund a lot of the campaigns of City Council members.

I’m taking away from this experience several things:

Common cause can overcome a lot of media scripting and “labelling” of groups, allowing them to work together

It takes fewer people to fight city hall than it does Washington D.C.

Developing a reputation for knowledge on local issues can translate into huge influence

I hope to see more of this kind of cooperation and scrutiny at all levels of government, but specifically the place I call home. To me, the varmint I can reach is the one who will listen to me best. And while local politics may not seem sexy at first glance, let me assure you that passing something good, or defeating something bad, at home gets me very tingly all over.

Originally posted at Own The Narrative