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I was speaking with a local city commissioner a few weeks back.  He had a lot of great things to say.

He had advice about how exactly my local church could participate in good works in the city.  He told me about his background as a teacher and vocal community member.  I learned about his successes and failures.  And he even taught me a little about how to start a career in politics, if I ever so desired.

It was extremely enlightening.

people in streetOne of the main things which stuck out to me was his passion for getting people involved.

At the local level, the government gets to deal with real problems that affect every person in the community.  Whether or not to save the swamplands, how much funding goes to the homeless shelter and humane society, when the community health club will get built.

Yeah, we’ll vote for the next president, but honestly, he says, most of the federal level governing has no effect on my city and my life.

And the problem is that people tend not to care about local government.

So why should you vote in local elections?

You are Intelligent

Photo credit: USDAgov / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: USDAgov / Foter / CC BY

Most likely, if you are even taking the time to read this article, you are smart enough to know that there is more to life than working a job and then coming home and watching the game with a beer on your end table.

You have worth and intelligence.  You are capable of learning about the problems that we face as distinct communities.  The politicians running for office are public figures and you should learn about their character and stances on issues.  Gain insight into the platforms of both parties in the local sphere, and if your city is non-partisan, then you gotta research the individuals.

You’ve heard it said by the great Uncle Ben, “With great power comes great responsibility”.  Your aptitude for learning better than a monkey gives you power enough to make informed decisions about politics.  And because you have the power, then you must use it.

If you ignore the responsibility to use your voice in the American governing system, then you could be letting down your very neighbors.

Existing Lack of Participation

The city commissioner gave me a really thought-provoking anecdote:

In the city of Lawrence, out of which The Borough is based, we have the University of Kansas.  Rock Chalk Jayhawks!  There are approximately 5,000 students who live in the student housing at KU.  Out of all those students, only one single person voted in the last spring election in Lawrence.  And that one person was the city commissioner’s sister because she was voting for him.

Is that insane or what?

Out of 5,000 KU students, one #voted in the spring election in #Lawrence. Click To Tweet

Sadly, Lawrence is not unique to this type of participation.  People tend to care only about federal and maybe state elections because they are publicized the most.  But as I said before, the local elections impact our lives most directly.

Our Civic Responsibility

Photo credit: Steve Snodgrass / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: Steve Snodgrass / Foter / CC BY

In the context of Paul speaking about our submission to the government, Romans 13:7 says, “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

It can be reasoned that in a democracy, we owe all those things, but we also owe our voices.  In other words, because our government is supposed to be a government of the people, then the only way our government can function is if the people speak.  For us, that means voting, writing your local representative, participating in city hall meetings, etc.

So from a biblical moral perspective, voting is the right thing to do.  Our voices can change things for our neighbors for the better.  And we owe it to our government.

Don’t Stand By

Take this information and use it.  Be the intelligent, participating, responsible citizen that we were all made to be.

Our voices can change things for our neighbors for the better. #vote #localgovernment Click To Tweet

Do your research and vote.  Change your communities through the democratic election process.  It’s not useless, unless you stay home on election day.

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