Tuesday, November 3, 2015

All politics is local

When we want to understand where great leaders in history come from, it is important to understand their roots. If we want to have future leaders who can change the world, tearing down systems of oppression, leading millions of people towards a single goal, we need to understand how such work is done. We often look to the Presidency in American politics as resembling that power of changing the narrative and moving policy in one way or another, and this is completely true. What is also true is that behind every great president there are hundreds if not thousands of people behind him (and hopefully someday her when the right candidate comes along) working in the background. The really great presidents have congresses working with them, either because they agree with the President's values or because the bully pulpit and/or politics forced them to work with the President's agenda.

But, where do presidents come from? They don't just pop out of the ground! Most presidents (and Vice Presidents) in American history come from either the Senate or are a former governor. The last president to not fit this root was Eisenhower who was able to catapult up to the Presidency because of his service in World War II. The only other President in the 20th century to not fit this analysis was Herbert Hoover, who is another anomaly.

So, the next question in our quest is where do senators come from? Well, according to the Congressional Research Service, a majority of members of Congress have had previous experience working in local politics. We are looking at state legislatures, county and city councils, and other elected positions. 1

In our ultimate quest for where great leaders come from leads us to your county courthouse where your city council meets. With jurisdiction over how land is used, one of the most powerful things governments do, city and county governments are actually extremely powerful branches of government. Their ability to give leaders experience making major decisions can lead them to then being in the United States Congress if they are ambitious and talented enough, with experience to demonstrate their ability to lead and what values they may or may not hold. This is valuable information for voters when voting on legislative or congressional leadership, and I believe it is very important for politicians to have at least some experience at the local level to test their worth before going to an important job further ahead.

It is a little late, but always remember to vote in your local elections. Who knows, maybe you are voting for a future president.

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