Watching the news on any channel is an opportunity to talk back to the TV. The president of the United States demonizes 76 million of his fellow Americans as “semi-fascists.” He speaks about unity, yet his rhetoric divides. He constantly speaks about “our democracy,” purposely misleading his fellow citizens into believing we live in one. Our president unconstitutionally transfers wealth from people who took out student loans to those who did not and expects responsible people to help in paying those loans back. The U.S. sends billions of taxpayer dollars to foreign countries with no expectation of oversight or repayment, yet if you miss one quarterly payment to the IRS, one of 87,000 new armed agents may soon show up at your door.
State government is getting even worse. One governor mandates no internal combustion vehicles can be sold in his state by a certain date, yet his fellow citizens can’t keep the air-conditioning on after 4:00 PM for fear of having rolling black-outs after two weeks of 100+-degree temperatures. Oh, and don’t charge your electric vehicles during this time. The energy of unreliable solar and wind does not work if the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow. Never mind that coal, natural gas, and nuclear power run his state with available, affordable, and abundant energy, not the mythical energy of the “green new deal”.
I could go on and on griping and complaining yet the real problem is not them, it is us. Before you jump on me as an apologist for those on the opposite political spectrum let me explain. For far too long we have abdicated our responsibility to be active and engaged citizens at any level of government. As scholar Dr. Thomas Krannawitter has written, there are four aspects to citizenship, “Self-restraint, self-assertiveness, civic-knowledge, and self-reliance.” Those of us who believe in these ideas have used the excuse, “I am too busy making a living, raising my kids, or I have no time,” to be active in local government. We the people have caused this problem because we thought others would stand on the vanguard and protect those individual rights that our constitutional republic was founded on. We thought that if we leave people alone, not take their stuff, and not be an idiot we could live and let live. In theory that sounds nice, yet the opposition has filled the void by seeping into every aspect of our lives including government, education, media, and entertainment. Every institution we once respected and held with reverence we now see corrupted by the ever-growing state.
The question is what do we do about our current situation? Many of my friends are about to “Go Galt”. They are done with our mixed-up comingling of economy and state. I can only speak for myself when I say I am tired of using the excuse of “I am too busy” only to let the usual suspects continue to take over while the frog in a pot, boils into oblivion. The time to act is long overdue. This is why I have decided to run for a public office as a charter commissioner in my Town of Erie, Colorado.
I have been working behind the scenes in local politics since 2008 to advance the ideas of liberty. This is the responsible exercise of freedom, a definition patriotic historian Ben Martin uses. I find by using logic and reason to influence and persuade others to think and reflect, we can find a common ground. I have helped hundreds of people find their voice in public speaking and improve their oral communication and leadership skills. I have invested my time in my local community in youth programs to enhance young people’s lives with activities and opportunities which help them grow and excel. Yet, as much as I would like to think I made a small difference in my sphere of influence, it does not seem to be enough.
The town in which I live is attempting to go from a statutory to a home rule town. According to the Legislative Council Staff Nonpartisan Services for Colorado’s Legislature, “Home rule is a form or structure of governing defined by the citizens of a municipality or county that allows for more control over matters of local significance. Voters can decide to adopt home rule, and through a charter, detail the structure and powers of the local government.” It continues, “Home rule empowers local governments to act and legislate on local matters. In general, home rule ordinances addressing local matters supersede state law. However, in matters of statewide or mixed concern, state laws may take precedence over conflicting home rule ordinances. Without a home rule charter, local governments are strictly subject to the laws of the state.” This all sounds wonderful until you read and understand that it also gives local governments more power to tax, zone, create public health ordinances, public safety and gives the administrators of our town more control and no fiscal plan to pay for it.
In theory, why wouldn’t a citizen want more local control? To be blunt, if your elected officials and town administration was inept and wanted more power to effect change in a way that does not protect individual rights, one would most likely vote “NO” on such a measure. Having spent two years to flatten the curve, I have little trust in the majority elected officials and bureaucrats. They do not understand that the proper role of all government is to protect universal, equal, natural rights given by our Creator. Nothing more.
The rather innocuous language of the ballot measure for the municipal election on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 reads as follows. “Shall the Town of Erie form a Home Rule Charter Commission for the purpose of drafting a home rule charter? Yes/ For, No/ Against. Section 2. The following candidates shall appear on the ballot in the following order. Vote for not more than nine ( 9) candidates to serve on the Town of Erie’ s Home Rule Charter Commission. The measure continues to name the randomly selected individuals who have all been verified by the town clerk to qualify to run for the position. (I am number 14 on the ballot in case you know someone who lives in Erie). By state statute, the elected commissioners will have 180 days to construct a charter. Then, if approved by the town trustees it goes back to the citizens for a vote. Here’s the rub, you may think as a voter you are done by voting “NO” on home rule. However, you still must select nine of the eighteen candidates in case the ballot measure passes. The measure is constructed to be confusing, and at best misunderstood.
I was reluctant to run. I do not want this charter commission measure to pass. However, if the measure does pass, I want to be part of a deliberative conversation to construct as many safeguards to protect individual rights into the document. The charter needs to be written in concise, and clear language for every citizen to easily understand. I can no longer stand by and do nothing. I have taken up the challenge and so here is my challenge to you. Find a local board or commission and serve. If I can stand to partake in the “sausage making”, perhaps you can too. Kathleen Chandler, at the Independence Institute states, “Don’t waste your time talking to like-minded friends…make a real difference! Change the politically correct culture to the American Culture!”