Brief by Martha Quillen
Politics – May 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine
Why National Politics Are Better For You
Everybody has heard of Monica Lewinsky and Slobodan Milosevic.
But does everyone know the names of all their U.S. Senators, U.S. representative, state representative, state senators, county commissioners, town councilmen, local school board members?
It seems unlikely. At the local level, politics just don’t generate as much media saturation. (Also, local radio stations and weekly newspapers seldom enthrall viewers with as much sexual or violent content as the media barons do — thank goodness.)
Yet it strikes us that there may be a lot of very good reasons to prefer national politics over local affairs. Among them:
1) If you absolutely despise the president’s Balkan policy — and therefore feel compeeled to criticize the President’s decisions, judgements and actions — you can barrage your congressmen with protest literature and march in anti-war demonstrations, and while doing so you will probably not run into the President at the grocery store. Better yet, you probably don’t live next to the President’s cousin, brother, or mother-in-law.
2) If you go to the trouble of researching, documenting, substantiating and then presenting your protest on the Balkans to the President of the United States, and he absolutely ignores your concerns, you probably won’t be surprised.
3) Even if you publicly object to presidential policy, it isn’t likely that the President or his staff will publicly question or ridicule your motivations, integrity, character, or intelligence (unless you happen to be a congressman criticizing the President’s sexual conduct).
4) If you actively participate in national politics and then history someday proves that you were wholly wrong on your Balkan position, you can take comfort in the fact that you probably didn’t change the President’s — nor even one solitary soldier’s — position by a single millimeter. At the local level, you just can’t be so sure of your innocuous ineffectuality.
5) If you actively participate in politics in a small community — and it gets out that you are not only willing to donate time, but that you know how to type, or run a copier, or drive an automobile, or answer phones, or operate a computer, or file — you may never have a free weekend again (unless you move).