All politics is local.
I thought of this aphorism today as I watched the opening scenes of the Republican National Convention out of Cleveland.
Don’t worry; that’s the last I’ll mention the RNC. At least for today.
Instead, this blog post offers you the opportunity to get back to basics.
All politics is local. Think about that a minute. What are your local (political) issues? Let me give you some prompts.
How’s your infrastructure? Have you ever gotten a flat tire or thrown your car out of alignment because of a pothole? Are the bridges you cross on your way to work each day more than 50 years old? How does your town deal with your garbage? Do you know where your solid waste goes after you flush?
How are your schools? What’s the graduation rate at your local high school? How many of your graduates go on to college? Do your elementary students get opportunities to explore art, music, dance, theater? Or are they being “taught to the test?”
How safe are your streets? How many of them would you walk down, at night, alone? Have you ever been mugged? Robbed? Threatened? Do you believe the homeless are simply the price we pay for our capitalist economy?
How accessible is health care where you live? How important is that to you? Does your neighbor have equal access?
“All politics is local,” declared Tip O’Neill, the Speaker of the House of Representatives back when I worked as Campaign Finance Director for my local congressman. If you’re interested in the backstory, Wikipedia has it.
Education, employment, and environment; food, health, and housing; infrastructure, recreation, and safety … The list of what constitutes “the good life,” the basics of what some refer to as “quality of life” issues are subjective.
Quality of life issues have interested me since my days as Development Director of the Akron Symphony Orchestra, raising money on the “increasing the Quality of Life for the citizens of Akron, Ohio” promise.
What constitutes a quality life to you? What are the pieces that enable you to declare, “I have a good quality of life.”
A symphony orchestra? A local art museum? A great coffee shop and movie theater? Safe streets?
Clean streets? A quality education? A police force whose members you can talk to? Access to nature? Bike paths?
A sense of connection to those you interact with daily? A local newspaper that prints editorials you agree with? Respect for our country around the globe? Peace?
Bringing our service men and women home to their families?
Enabling our young people to get a college education without saddling them with paralyzing debt?
Allowing science to provide documentation for certain Congressional decisions (like the effects of marijuana use on young people)? Elected officials you trust? Sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels?
Our own backyards. Our own neighborhoods. Our own local communities. We want certain things, we demand certain promises be kept when it comes to the way we want to live our lives. We have a vision of the kind of world we want to live in, the world we’d like our grandchildren to inherit.
We do. We know what we want. That part’s not difficult. It’s the HOW that creates discussion, debate, dissension.
Can I last through the next three months?
How about you? What are the issues that motivate you to get out and vote?