Get involved locally

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It’s been a rough week.

J.J. Watt is out for the season, Brad and Angelina are splitting up and our choices for the next U.S. president are not exactly optimal.

How are we expected to sleep at night with all this madness going on in the world? Judging by the increasingly angry Facebook posts I’ve been reading, people are pretty upset by these three news flashes – although the first two hardly impact our daily lives (unless, of course, you were unfortunate enough to draft J.J. for your Fantasy Football team and there’s a large pot of money at stake).

I didn’t watch last week’s presidential debate (my mom was in town for a visit and suggested it might not be a good idea for us to watch it together based on our differing political views). I don’t really have a preference between Donald and Hillary because I don’t really like either of them.

That said, I don’t know anything about foreign policy or tax reform or how the Veterans Administration does business. I took one of those online quizzes to see which presidential candidate I am most likely to support, and the answer was Libertarian Gary Johnson. Who? Yeah.

Here’s the thing about politics. While we can (mostly) all agree that our votes matter, and the decision of who to elect as leader of our country is undoubtedly an important one, why are people so passionate about national politics and so complacent about getting involved at the local level?

Showing up at a Commissioners Court meeting could light a fire under the elected officials to get that pesky pothole fixed. If you want to know how the school district is spending its money, show up to a board meeting. Get a firsthand look at how the City Council is using your tax dollars.

All these local meetings are open to the public, and I’m sure they would actually be thrilled to have occasional visitors. But rarely does anyone show up, other than to snap a photo of their kid being honored for Student of the Month. Our local public servants work hard to be good stewards of your money and to provide the best education possible for your children.

We may not be able to make much of an impact on how the next U.S. president handles ISIS, but I bet we could get the superintendent to let us know how the new band hall is coming along. Start small, and you might be surprised at the difference you can make.

April Towery is the editor of The Meteor. She can be reached at (936) 348-3505 or editor@madisonvillemeteor.com

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