Get involved, for democracy’s sakeAs a country, we’ve gotten lazy and stubborn, both unappealing traits in a national character.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
They say our country is home to the longest-running democracy in the world.
In recent years, a person could legitimately wonder how much longer it’s going to survive.
Not because any other countries threaten to overrun us, nor because any of our presidents made a move to assume office for life.
No, it’s all on the shoulders of the people, as it should be. And we’ve gotten lazy and stubborn, both unappealing traits in a national character.
Lazy, because the majority of Americans can’t be bothered to truly educate themselves about the issues, preferring instead to parrot the party line or swallow some 10-second sound bite they heard on TV or YouTube. Here we are, at a time when a tremendous amount of information is readily accessible to anyone with an Internet connection, not even bothering to read the local paper.
Stubborn because our politicians at both the state and national level are more concerned with scoring points against each other than actually getting anything done. And they’re not the only ones. The rancor has definitely spread into the general populace, with even some families pulling apart over party lines.
There is one place that the new political norm of party over the people doesn’t necessarily hold true, however: At the local level.
That’s why we’d like to encourage folks who do want to serve their fellow man to step up and get involved in community politics. Run for city councilor, school board member and county commissioner.
Go ahead, make a difference.
But hurry up and file, at least for Cloquet City Council or the Carlton County Commission. The filing period for both – as well as for state and federal offices for the really ambitious – runs from May 22 through June 5.
Although three seats on the Carlton County Board of Commissioners would normally be up for re-election this year – District 1, District 3 and District 5 – because of redistricting, District 4 will also be on the ballot.
In Cloquet, three city council seats – Wards 4, 5 and the at-large seat – are up for re-election:
Soil and Water Conservation Districts 1, 4 and 5 are also up for re-election, with the same filing period.
All the school districts in Carlton County are on an even year election cycle so there are board seats up for re-election this year. However, because all of the school districts voted not to hold a primary election, the filing period for school board seats will run from July 31 through Aug. 14.
Other cities in Carlton County with all at-large city council seats will also have a filing period from July 31 through Aug. 14, as well as the townships in Carlton County.
Most cities have at least two council seats up for re-election as well as some mayoral positions. Townships should have at least one supervisor up for re-election and either a township clerk or treasurer position.
Let’s start a revolution at the local level, and show our kids how democracy really works.