Kevin Campbell interned at the Nassau County Legislature during the summer of 2018.
In the third year of his brief tenure, Jimmy Carter looked at a divided electorate reeling from the remnants of a crippling energy crisis. Americans anxiously awaited, hoping to be serenaded by familiar platitudes and patriotic rhetoric. Carter steered clear of comforting notions, opting to accentuate the underlying crisis corroding American democracy. A crisis of confidence.
Carter believed the prevailing ideals of self-indulgence and materialism were the agents plaguing the American populous. He emphatically urged Americans to do more conserving and less consuming. His particularly poignant argument can be synthesized in the following relevant quote. “Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns.”
For the generation that claims to have changed everything, why can we extrapolate an almost 40-year-old address and observe contemporary insights into the human condition? Maybe it’s due to the cyclical nature of society in which ideals periodically flow in and out of our collective conscious, but America’s youth remains at a crossroads with no foreseeable path forward.
Social media and globalization serve as the axis that our modern world revolves around. Individual action is no longer isolated, eventual rippling effects echo throughout our ever-interconnected world. No place provides a larger platform for the proliferation of change than local government. The convergence of like-minded people equipped with legislative recommendations and influence serves as a vehicle for the grassroots mobilization of people. A vehicle which can serve as a portal to reconcile our larger paradoxical political climate of overwhelming disapproval but unwillingness to change.
Increased governmental participation on the local level, fosters valuable relationships with constituents ensuring their voice is heard. Imparting confidence into voters about the trajectory of their future will reinvigorate disenfranchised voting blocs. In turn, empowering them to orchestrate their own political path forward. Autonomy over their destiny goes along way into instilling a feeling that America is going in the right direction.
Actively engaging in local government provides a fulfilling way to help shape the current political landscape into the idyllic place you feel confident living in. Sweeping cultural change is merely a byproduct of clusters of energized individuals taking personal responsibility for the future of their nation. At the epicenter of every cultural reformation is a collection of individuals undertaking a vow to answer the proverbial call to action.