This past week I’ve been corresponding with a reporter at the U.S. Journal in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. In response to my column from a couple of weeks ago entitled “Liberty Fatigue,” this gentleman noted, “The answer to your article on Liberty Fatigue is very easy, and I have been preaching (and practicing it) for many years – it is, besides the Lord and prayer and godliness, LOCAL, not state nor national. Your local sheriff can stop anything bad going on in your county if he wants to, barring the governor stopping him (and the government will not stop him as a rule). LOCAL is the answer – LOCAL.”
To support the concept that bringing our country back on track must start at the local level, I offered him the following illustration.
A few months ago, our county’s zoning board had a major brain fart and decided it was going to re-zone as Rural Residential any rural landowner whose property has road frontage (in other words, nearly the entire county except for our few small urban areas). A RR designation means landowners are restricted on what they can do on their property, including what kind of crops and livestock can be raised. This meant that farmers who for generations have raised hundreds of acres of wheat or lentils, or hundreds of head of cattle, would have to apply and pay for a special exemption to continue farming – and exemptions would be granted at the will of the local zoning board.
Before codifying this, the zoning board was required by law to hold three public meetings in the three small towns in our county (populations 2,500, 1,000 and 500).
Well, my goodness, you never saw such a turnout in your life. Each meeting was standing-room only, and the people across all three towns UNANIMOUSLY told the zoning board to knock it off and stop being idiots. The board backed down so quickly they were tripping over each other.
Why was the turnout for these meetings so high? Why did such a diverse county have such a unanimous reaction? It’s because people had their private property and their livelihoods directly threatened. That gave everyone (ourselves included) the motivation to get off our butts and DO something.
So to an extent, my correspondent at the U.S. Journal is right: It’s the local action that can prevail. However, it remains to be seen whether these local efforts can unify to stop the national destructive path of our government.
The fact of the matter is, most people won’t bestir themselves to do something outside of their comfort zone until they’re threatened, or until something affects them personally. Collectively this is known as the NIMBY Syndrome: Not In My Back Yard.
That’s why there have been so many protests around the country (from both the left and the right) as illegals are being bussed, flown, or otherwise transported into various communities. Contrary to the heart-wrenching photos of sad and abused small children, the majority of those illegals being transported are older teens or adults, many of whom are violent gang members. Not in my back yard!
From the standpoint of smart bureaucratic power-grabs, one of the mistakes our local zoning board made was to re-zone everybody’s property. It didn’t matter if the property owner voted Democrat or Republican or didn’t vote at all. The zoning board didn’t target a specific political affiliation, religious suasion, age, or gender … it targeted everybody. Therefore everybody unified to shout down the board’s proposed changes. In short, we were pushed – and we pushed back.
But our federal government is smarter and more experienced than the local zoning board. The federal government knows it’s best to restrict the liberties of subgroups rather than all groups. They keep dividing our nation into smaller and smaller parts and implementing policies that affect these subgroups differently. That way one group is so busy fighting that it doesn’t pay attention or protest what happens to another group. Divide and conquer. Divide and conquer. Sound familiar?
But when something happens that affects people across the board (such as when violent Central American gang membersare bussed to communities who must house, feed, clothe, educate and medicate them without objection), then the subgroups unite and protest. In these instances, political or religious affiliations disappear. No one cares about someone else’s sexuality or gender. All they care about is that they, themselves, will be personally affected by the influx of violent illegal-alien criminals into their midst.
In other words, something happens on a local level. Something has come to their back yard.
As America sinks deeper into economic and political turmoil, I believe this is what will happen more and more frequently. We will begin to realize that we ourselves, personally, are being affected by a stupid, unconstitutional, progressive agenda that’s being shoved down our throats. We will witness the difference between lofty progressive ideology and ugly progressive reality.
We’re already seeing this to some extent. After all, what happens when people are suddenly faced with firearms or ammunition restrictions? They arm themselves by the millions.
What happens when churches are told they can’t address the sins of immoral government excesses for fear of losing their tax-exempt status? They give the IRS the middle finger.
For better or worse, it’s human nature for most people not to bestir themselves until they’re threatened. Most of us are too busy making a living and raising our families to have a “second career” trying to stop a runaway government.
But when we are personally threatened – when violent foreign gang members are bussed into our communities, or firearms are being confiscated door-to-door, or farmers lose their livelihood to protect a snail – then people will rise up and refuse to comply.
No one individual can fix an entire leaky dike, but individuals can plug a hole and patch things as we go.
However, there will come a point when the whole dike will have to be replaced. When that day comes, it will take the joined hands of experienced local patriots to fix our ailing nation.
So get out there now, while there’s still time, in your community. Fight a local wrong in your back yard, your town, or your school. You can win. And when you do, you’ll learn that it is possible to force the government stooges and power-hungry bureaucrats to scurry back to their holes.
There are still more of us than them.
Media wishing to interview Patrice Lewis, please contact [email protected].