As we look ahead to Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for the freedom we enjoy in our society. During to my recent trip to Asia as part of my graduate studies in business and society, I spent some time reflecting on freedom and role of government both here and there.
Since coming to public office, I’ve observed that most new proposals fall in two categories: New services and new rules.
Everyone loves new services until we talk about what we have to give up to pay for them. Since we live in a town and a state that puts a high emphasis on minimizing taxes, new services beyond the basics will take considerable consensus.
New rules should also be carefully considered. For every rule we apply, we give up a little bit more freedom and convenience to do what we please. It is rare that a proposed rule meets the needs of all our residents and doesn’t have unintended consequences.
How much control do we want to subject ourselves to vs. just being responsible citizens? There is no absolute answer to these questions. Depending on who lives here and what issues we face over time there will be different needs and opinions. Getting it right is our responsibility as leaders but we can’t do that without two things from our residents: Communication and voting!
Good legislation requires lengthy, constructive dialog. That’s where we need not just your yes or no vote but your principles and underlying needs. Even the best ideas take time, just because we have to be sure to refine proposals that can have unintended consequences. Don’t let others speak for you, let your voice be heard. Email [email protected].
Every elected official knows they work for everyone in their jurisdiction, but it is unfortunately the same small group of people that elects them. How we vote is secret, but who you are and when you voted is public. Voting is the best way to ensure that your opinions are heard and tax dollars are used to serve you at every government level.
Right now an important election is underway where we can all be direct legislators. Our vote matters now more than ever. One of the most important political decisions we make isn’t just who or what we vote for, but that we did.
Half a world away a large part of the human race lives where government tells them how to live in every area of their lives. They cannot vote against, question, or voice dissent for fear of reprisal. The most concerning statement I heard on my Asia tour was the observation that their society is not changing as quickly to be more like us so much as we are changing to be more like them!
Let’s not let that happen. We enjoy more control over our government than any other people on earth. Let’s keep it that way!