There is an old adage that asks “How do you eat an elephant?” and then answers “One bite at a time.” The origin of this aphorism is lost in the dim reaches of my memory, but as I ponder the sorry state of our governance these days it seems more and more appropriate. If the last couple of decades have demonstrated little else, they at least have shown that we proles down here in the grime and gristle of daily life have essentially no effect on the machinations of those who purport to govern us. These transcendant beings have managed to insulate themselves from the moilings of lesser mortals to such a degree that they are effectively untouchable, free to indulge whatever self-serving schemes they can cook up.
I speak, of course, primarily of those “public servants” at the federal level. Armed with war chests that would dazzle Midas himself, slavering pols who aspire to the exalted state of Incumbency make sport of our electoral process with their dollars and their panderings, and, once successful, return year after year to gorge at the public trough. Upon arriving at the Halls of Power, those few whose motives were even remotely honorable at the outset are soon disabused of any notion of serving or furthering the public weal.
And we (those of us who sent them there) are, for the most part, powerless to affect their actions or, equally important, to effect their removal. These folks have raised plunder and patronage to high art, and have managed to convince a disturbingly large portion of the voting public that what they are doing is governing. It is decidedly not governing; it is not republicanism, or federalism, or constitutionalism or any other -ism … shoot, it’s not even democracy, that much used and misunderstood term. It is gang tyranny operating smoothly under the guise of representative government, and it must be stopped.
Think critically, seriously, for a moment about our tottering republic. It owes outright more money than can ever be repaid ($17 trillion!! Really?) There is no scenario we can imagine, even in our wildest flight of fancy, that will allow such a debt to ever be extinguished – in one year, ten years, or a century – simply because our dear leaders do not see it as debt, but as a convenient source of limitless potential pillage. Further, the long term commitments our overseers have made amount to 70 or 80 trillion dollars – an amount so large that it is impossible to even think rationally about it, much less formulate a plan to pay it off.
Our western culture, our way of life, has decayed to an alarming state, and teeters on the edge of total moral chaos thanks to nearly a century of secular rapine of educational and religious institutions. Our children’s generation will be the first in our history to be less well off than their parents. Our prestige in the world has sunk to levels untested in our national experience, and still our liege lords lounge in their chambers and hatch new plots while assuring us that things are just fine, and would be even better if we would only elect more Democrats, or Republicans, or Mugwumps, or whoever.
My contention is simple – they are the elephant (or donkey) and it is well past time that they are eaten. It does little if any good to vote for (or against) those who would be king or duke or earl. Our efforts against them are gnats thinking to stop a bus by flying into the windshield. No, we need to begin nibbling at a much less grandiose level. History tells us that the average national politician began at a much humbler level – a city councilman, or school board member perhaps (or, God help us, a community organizer). There are some who spring full-born on to the national political stage, but they are exceedingly rare, and their impact tends to fade rapidly. No, the majority come up through the ranks; even Sarah Palin started as councilwoman and then mayor. So our strategy is simple. We must begin now to discover, recruit, support and elect to local offices – county boards, city councils, school boards, etc. – candidates who possess a liberty-directed inventory of beliefs. And it must be done at a highly local level – grassroots groups in the purest sense of the word. Like-minded, liberty-loving citizens who meet and discuss issues important to them, clubs, advocacy groups, even coffee klatsches – all of these, and lots of others, are appropriate springboards for renovation of our creaking system.
One of the brightest lights I know in this new science of political renewal is Laura Ebke, current candidate for the Unicameral from the 32nd District, and liberty advocate par excellence. Allow me to quote her:
Here is what the “movement” needs to do, if it’s really serious about being a movement, in my opinion:
1. Quit whining about the political parties. The parties are made up of people. Bring more people to the party, or help those who are there to understand that you’re not the enemy—be an evangelist for liberty! For better or worse, we’ve got the parties, and that’s not likely to change, given state election/ballot access laws. If you want to change that, then consider this next point….
2. Find your own candidates for some of these lesser offices—whether your City Council or the State Legislature. And then help them get elected. Don’t just post about them on Facebook. Send them money. Volunteer to canvas neighborhoods or make phone calls. REALLY help them—don’t just talk about it. Get enough of them elected, and then you can start changing those election laws.
3. Study and learn about effective political action. The Leadership Institute (based in Virginia, founded by Morton Blackwell) offers some of the best training on earth, and more and more of their stuff is online. If you learn about political effectiveness, that helps you to develop a PLAN (get where this is going?). If you develop a PLAN, and have CASH, then you can start bringing hope and change (for liberty) to your own little corner of the world.
If enough people start bringing hope and change (for liberty) to their own little corners of the world, it won’t take long for that to start expanding geometrically, and one day, in the not too distant future, we’ll have dozens of Justin Amash proteges in the House, and more Senators, and we’ll have some Governors, and one day (and I think that at 51, I’ll even live to see it), we’ll have a President who really does embrace liberty—and in the process of doing this, we’ll have TRULY evangelized for liberty, and people will see that it really CAN work—because we’ve promoted it locally, and in our states, and (dare I say it?) “the roads were still built” and nothing terrible happened, because while we evangelized and moved to change the system, we also worked within it, instead of just carping from the outside.
Wise words, Laura – now we have to start making them a reality.
Here’s how to start – find out about ALL the elected offices in your corner of the world – what they are, and who is running for them. Once you know the candidate, research them – find out if you can what they believe, what interests or people, if anyone, they might be beholden to. Discover, if possible, where their funding originates. If none satisfy you, then work to recruit candidates who do fit the mold of liberty, then support those candidates to the very limit of your financial, physical and intellectual ability.
Do not concern yourself unduly with “party” – for liberty-seeking purposes, there is essentially NO difference anymore between Republicans and Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives, etc. Remember this – even though the spotted puppy may be cuter than the brindle, they are still both dogs; they will both eat your dog chow, poop on your floor, and bring home fleas. I would also recommend saving your campaign dollars and efforts to be used in behalf of local candidates you support, but only you can make final decisions about that.
Concentrate on LOCAL offices – the race for POTUS or Senate or House, or even Governor is probably (at least for now) beyond our ability to have much effect on – but if we can develop a good bench now, to use Laura’s term, then at some point we will be able to dramatically influence those up-ballot races. And don’t ignore ballot initiatives – the defeat or support of many ballot questions represent fertile ground for the advancement of liberty.
Following are a few good sources of information to prepare you for that first bite at the elephant: