Last semester, I took a class on books related to the economic and cultural issues relevant to the last election.
The structure of the class was loose and discussion-based. Sometimes our whole class would be dedicated to a chapter of a book, other times not at all. But in every class we always discussed one thing — our hometowns. I found myself telling stories about the Atlanta suburb I grew up in that I hadn’t thought about in years. In the class of about 15, I’d known three of them in January. By April, I could tell you about the places everybody came from.
The fact that your hometown impacts your political ideology really isn’t anything ground-breaking. But the class discussions brought one frustrating question to mind: why do we pay so little attention to our local politics?
Overall, we’re cynical when it comes to politics — a recent Gallup poll showed only 32 percent of Americans are satisfied with the government. While some believe it’s hopeless, the answer to a better political future is in our own neighborhoods.
Not every president started their career with a mere seven-figure loan from their father and an NBC show. Many of them and their cabinets got their starts in smaller scales of government. Before he was president, George H.W. Bush was the Republican Party chairman in Harris County, Texas. Joe Biden started his political career as a council member of New Castle County in Delaware.