Just hours ahead of the first presidential debates, I have my fingers crossed, hoping we’ll hear substantive input about what these two men want to do to improve the employment possibilities in this country. But more importantly, I want to encourage all of us to avoid over-emphasizing the possibility of what any president can do. I often feel we get too caught up in the presidential election, viewing it through the prism of celebrity and personality. This, in turn, obstructs our consideration of political leadership at large.
As we’ve clearly seen over the last two years, there are severe limitations to what any president can do if congress is unwilling to bridge philosophical difference and generate compromises that lead to policy–any policy at all. I encourage everyone to take a moment to familiarize yourself with your congressional representative and his or her voting record. What’s more, take a moment to learn a bit about your representation at the state level. Aren’t you curious about who is being paid by your tax dollars? Aren’t you curious about who is speaking on your behalf?
Municipal and state politics are far less sexy than Obama v. Romney and hotly contested Congressional races but the fact is, state and local governments have far more power to effect our daily lives and, more immediately, the local economies that provide our employment opportunities and our overall quality of life.
It is not about Obama or Romney. It’s about the people in your state capitol and city council meeting room.