Local vs. Federal Government
Gone are the days when the average man knew his local congressmen and actually listened to and appealed to them. When the average woman cared very little for the governmental positions in Washington D.C. as they had little effect on her. Many don’t realize that our emphasis on the central government has not always been the way it is. The local government was what mattered to a person because that is what affected them. We have shifted focus. This change is strange but revealing. It reveals our shift from local power to centralized power, our Progressive shift from bigger state governments and a smaller federal government to the opposite.
Still, though, our local senators and representatives are our representatives in Congress, the law-making branch of our government. The only real power we have to influence federal laws is by putting people in Congress who will represent our local values. It follows, then, that we would know our congressmen well. Do we? Do you know your district representative? What about your two senators? Your governor?
As our education declines nationally, so does our understanding of everything, including the relationship between state and federal governments. As we lose that understanding, we lose sight of how crucial the balance of power is. Our votes are no longer informed by wisdom and understanding but by opinion and passion. We are no longer able to engage in actual argument with resolute minds and open hearts.
We are a democratic republic. We are also performing an educational experiment: can universal education work? Democracy and true education – education of the mind in the liberal arts, education about what it is to be human and what it is to be human together – must go together. When preparation to be part of the economy becomes the focus of education, when it is focused on preparing us for the workplace with “functional” knowledge and skills, we have lost the balance in ourselves and we will lose our liberty as a people.