Politics begins locally, and everything draws on local resources

“All politics is local…” This quote from former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill can be taken a number of ways. But, for me, it is most importantly a reminder to step back. But not too far back.

What do I mean? Well, we all too often have a habit of approaching politics from a big picture point of view… “It’s the national level that matters,” we grumble, even as we feel powerless to change a machine so large and already set in motion. We focus on the national races and fight viciously ‘til it’s over, and then if our horse doesn’t win we throw up our hands, say “I didn’t vote for that one,” and stomp off to wait a few years. And repeat.

Standing before the national political scene may make us feel powerless, but politics is a local reality, even when you’re talking about president and congressional representatives. They reflect interconnected local realities, and they have very real impacts on local ways of being.

A Donald Trump presidency isn’t about a wall between two nations: a Donald Trump presidency is about walking into my local Latin market (my home away from K&S) and no longer seeing some familiar faces. That wall is grandly symbolic of a hateful and hurtful local reality that it will spread across this country like a cancer.

And we face the very real possibility of that coming to pass because we treat politics like something distant, a set of ideological points to be hashed out and argued, rather than the pulse of our daily lives. We have to keep referring these “big picture” views back to those daily lives in order to expose the big picture and determine if it is truly worthy of us.

As powerless as national politics makes us feel, and as much avoidance as that can inspire, local politics is perhaps worse. Sure you can make an impact, you can see the change … but it’s just so much darn work. Exposed to the possibility of putting real work into politics people suddenly act as if “that’s what those idiots in Washington are supposed to be doing, isn’t it?” After all that’s what we elect them to do, isn’t it?

The fact of the matter is, everything begins locally, and everything draws on local resources, and it’s hard work. And if you don’t want to do it, don’t complain about how you don’t like the results. Don’t like a national two-party system? Post fliers about the meeting you should be hosting to grow your local Green Party, or stop whining. Want to be protected under the law? Fight for it, bring it to light, and do the work…

All politics is local, and this month O&AN is highlighting that reality by offering our endorsements for the General Election rapidly approaching on November 8, 2016. Here we look at state and national races and offer our thoughts on the candidates. But we also opened the floor to our readers to share their thoughts in favor of Clinton and Trump.

We looked at the major parties’ national conventions and how they positioned LGBT issues, but we also heard from a local LGBT delegate and feature an interview with Marisa Richmond of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, who served as the Democratic National Convention’s first transgender podium official.

And of course Amy Sulam took a little swipe at Trump, and America.

So as the political season kicks into high gear, get inspired and heed Richmond’s advice—it isn’t too late, find your candidate, get involved, and make a difference.

@jamesallengrady

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Jose Cuervo

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