So yesterday was election day which means my Twitter feed stunk to high heaven of neoconservative glee about "winning". While yesterday's election got national hype and the next presidential election (2016) will get global recognition the elections that have truly steered the course of America rarely receive any news.
What am I talking about?
I'm talking about the slow secession of county and city autonomy to federal power that has pervaded the American landscape for a very long time. For several generations city managers and county commissioners have swindled away local autonomy to the federal government. This has taken place while you sit on your couch watching Fox News worrying about congregational and presidential elections when the real battle is being won and lost in the back rooms of your local court house.
We are woefully blind to the fact that even if one party (democrat or republican) won every seat in the senate and the house AND won the presidency NOTHING WOULD CHANGE.
"Why?" you ask.
Because change doesn't come from Pennsylvania Avenue. Change happens (usually) through the actions of local communities. For generations local communities around America have not cared what is happening locally.
Local families have not cared that their city council sold out the local police force's autonomy in order to get military grade police technologies.
Local families have not cared that the county school board has slowly sold out their educational autonomy (which gov't education in principle doesn't have anyway) so that they can be strong armed by the Department of Education about policy and curriculum (which at least [thankfully] can be met with local families pulling their children from public education but is usually met with more apathy and compliance).
Local families have not cared that their tax dollars do nothing locally but instead go straight to Washington.
The problem in America (and in much of the West for that matter) isn't a political one it's a religious one.
I do not say this simply to say we shouldn't worry about politics. Instead, I say this to remind us that what happens on the political level is only the reaction to what is already happening in the pews and in the home.
For a long time Christians (as individuals, families, and congregations) have been ceding their Biblically mandated responsibilities to others. This pattern has taken on political form in the nation's (county by county) ceding of it's responsibilities to the federal government.
The reversal of this cannot (in principle) be accomplished by voting the "right" people to federal office. The reversal of this must take place in the church & in Christian families who take seriously the call of God to live a life worthy of the calling of Christ.
If you're seriously interested in diving into the ways local autonomy has been ceded to the central government I highly recommend you check out Dr. Joel McDurmmon's book: Restoring America One County at a Time.
Food for thought.
Michael lives with his wife (Caroline) and dog (Beau) in Athens, GA where he teaches history and economics to high schoolers. Michael enjoys reading, watching soccer, drinking bourbon, and taking walks with his wife and dog.