I recently read something from many years ago. It was appropriate then but more so now:
“We cannot merely stand against an overweening national state, we must also work hard to revive state and local governments, as well as the private sector of family, church, and voluntary associations.”
Chuck Colson wrote that, and while I don’t always agree with him, or even like him, he often said things that make me think.
So, after reading his statement discouraging big government and encouraging stronger local governments and institutions such as family, I had to evaluate my personal activity.
Like most USA-loving people, I see big government as a mentally ill tyrant. I see the national debt as a loaded pistol of suicide aimed at America.
So, what am I willing to do to strengthen the local community? What am I doing to take the bullets out of that national suicide pistol?
Here’s what I came up with as ways I volunteered in the past or do so now at the local level; it’s probably some of what you come up with if you were to make the same inventory:
– Volunteer (local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, ambulance, fire department).
– Neighborhood cleanup (patrolling the sidewalks, ditches outside of town, my own yard).
– Support organized local emergency and medical relief efforts (donations, items for silent auctions, pancake breakfasts, spaghetti suppers).
– Support local school fundraising (the kid selling candy bars or subscriptions door to door).
– Support returning and departing troops (Patriot Guard Riders, Wounded Warriors)
Pretty short list, huh. Guess I need to get busy putting shoe leather to my tongue wagging. Perhaps I need to look at volunteering for more community support efforts. The risk is over-extending myself to the neglect of my home turf and efforts. The responsibility is mine. The reward? Maybe one less tax dollar to be taken from someone to do the work I can do myself.
What about you? Are you screaming at the television when you see a president who is adding to the 16-trillion dollars of red ink? Or are you doing more in your world to meet local needs so Washington will not? If every adult who blasts burgeoning government spending and waste picked up a little support effort on their own in just the one-mile radius of their home (litter, water or soil conservation, neighborly support, etc.) there would be less “need” for government to address.
What if every parent taught their children to do the same?
Somewhere in a conservative’s philosophy are the parallel beliefs of personal responsibility and personal freedom. Here’s where it starts.
Mike Kopp has exercised hi political muscle as a media director to two statewide campaigns, a television political reporter, a lobbyist, and staff assistant to the Senate Majority Leader. He is currently a communications director working from his home in Wilton, ND.