This week, The Pink Flamingo and my brother had an off and on again back and forth about the corruption of local politics verses the corruption of national. My brother thinks national political types are far more corrupt than local. I think that they can never even begin to be as corrupt as local political types. (I think it all started over that $800,000 city manger out in CA).
Somewhere the past week or so I read a commentary lamenting the fact that the Tea Party Types are concentrating on the “corruption” of our national system, while ignoring local politics. They are busy pushing people to run nationally, but ignoring local offices.
You are never going to be able to convince me that national politics are as corrupt as local. To prove my case I will do it in two words: Vote Fraud!
Every election cycle we are constantly barraged with horror stories about stolen elections (like Al Franken getting elected by felons). Stolen elections are not NATIONAL. They are LOCAL. They happen at the local precinct level. We hear about it as a national corruption problem, but it is actually a local problem – with a very simple local solution: HONEST ELECTION COMMISSIONS.
One critical reason you push the election of Republican governors is to get them to appoint good and honest people to local, county and state election commissions. You want to insure the end of “stolen elections”? You get good people in local positions.
For every Charlie Rangel you hear about, there will be dozens of small-time, small-town local officials who are just as corrupt. You never hear about them because most of ’em are never exposed!
Want to experience this corruption close up and personal? Might I suggest you let it be known that you are going to run for a sacred cow local office – very very local. Then, sit back and see what happens.
Try it – trust me.
I’ve been there and done that.
It was just a petty little local office, but a vital one. Within a few weeks of discussing the possibility of running for this little thing, the phone calls began. So did the treats. They were orchestrated by a certain woman within the community who was angry because I had been put on a local committee as a chairman and she was not.
Try making a few waves and see what happens. You will find that the locals are far more inventive and far more vicious about the way they protect their local status in a community. Soon, you will discover that you will get nowhere if you do not belong to the right civic organization, do not make the right donations or belong to the right church.
It is very easy to be black-balled from local civic organiztions. The same thing holds true with local groups, associations, and commisions. If you do not play their game and do their bidding, you are ostrocized.
Now, you want me to tell you the real reason that you aren’t seeing many Tea Party Types doing the local thing? They don’t have the clout. No commission is going to ask someone dressed up as a patriot to join them. If you don’t know their secret handshake, drink the right beer, and go to the right eatery at the right time, you’re out in the cold.
Oh, you also need the right career. It helps if you are an attorney, CPA, accountant, insurance, real estate, or in banking (even if that person is just a teller in the drive through). If you aren’t one of the above, you’d best better own a local business where you make a big splash and generate headlines. Also, learn to do a heck of a lot of self promotion.
These are the people who support the Charlie Rangels of the world. THEY are the local power brokers, no matter how small or how large the community or town. They are either corrupt or borderline corrupt. Unless you are on the inside, you have no hope of success, locally. Case in point – check out Susana Martinez’ small business steering committee – for Lincoln County. And – I prove my point. (FYI – Alan Morel is my attorney and a very nice person).
If you really want to change the world, start with your neighborhood and go from there.
Remember – it is the election commission, stupid!