If the American public were hopeful that the national mood would not become more ominous, they are surely disappointed. Literally, every sector of the federal government appears to be in a race to achieve ultimate incompetence. How else can one describe the actions of this Congress or this Administration?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) overruled its own Advisory Council to advocate COVID-19 booster shots for anyone over 65 without specificity of need. This is a long line of self-contradictory decisions the agency has made leaving the public perplexed on its competency. General Mark Milley, current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified today before Congress that when he called his counterpart twice in China, he was acting in his official capacity. This being said, President Trump had no knowledge of the communication or the fact that General Milley had informed the Chinese that no attack was imminent without Trump’s authority. This revelation follows on the heels of the botched withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Haitian immigrants collect en masse on the Texas border without a clear policy from the Administration or Homeland Security on how to deal with the crisis. Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas testified this week that as many as 30,000 undocumented Haitians may have entered the country illegally. Congress debates a $3.5 trillion human infrastructure bill that has not been scored or indexed for sequestration by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The actual costs of the bill as written may be $5 trillion. Progressives refuse to consider a separate bipartisan $1 trillion physical infrastructure bill without a vote at the same time on the $3.5 trillion proposal. Of course, no consideration whatsoever is given to the inflationary consequences. Senate Republicans voted last night to reject a proposed Continuing Budget Reconciliation to include raising the debt ceiling. Congress has not passed a legitimate official budget since 1997.
The list could go on and on. But what is the point? The federal government’s track record is worse than questionable. It is systemically undependable.
National governments at times execute policy to cure a long-term problem without knowledge or sensitivity to the short-term consequences of that policy. Rather than change how decisions are made, they make excuses for their failures and follow the same illogical process. When governments reach a point of incompetent saturation, they turn to dictatorial controls of the people to accommodate their irrational societal designs. Incumbent to the fallacy of this reasoning is little or no respect for freedom of the individual to make decisions for themselves. Governments left unchecked seldom trust the collective will of the people. This is the essence of why past socialistic and communistic governments became totalitarian and have been discarded to the dust bins of history. China is following this path today.
The answer to this dystopia is taking control of our own communities with the authority constitutionally granted.
Americans may not be aware of the blessing given to our country by the Founding Fathers structuring our country as a constitutional republic. A clear division of authority was intended for federal, state, and local governments. This included taxation and local decisions on spending. The wealth of the United States largely is under the control of the individual citizen. Citizens live in cities. States are a collection of cities. The nation is a collection of states.
The larger the government entity, the larger the control of capital. However, except for the military, the greatest percent of all budgets is spent in the cities. The largest three categories of budget expenditures are on education, healthcare, and precarity. Local governments have the primary authority for policy application of these federal and state programs.
I once participated in a project for the kingdom of Jordan. Jordan is a constitutional monarchy. The objective of the consultation was to advise local governments on how to streamline budget requests with the federal government. Historically, the crown had ultimately approved all expenditures. In listening to testimony, I was amazed at how the lack of delegation to local authority stymied progress. If a school wanted funds for playground equipment, they had to petition the federal government for an appropriation. The process took months if not years. I thought to myself, if the same situation existed in the United States, it would take a decade. The children of that time would have graduated before the monies were realized. We proposed local financing. The concept was not part of their cultural DNA. Much like the kingdoms of Europe, one could not even spend one’s own money without the king’s approval or blessing.
In the United States, local governments have authority to decide for themselves how they will educate their children. School districts have bonding authority for payment of physical structures. How and what the children are taught is the responsibility of the local school board. Whether or not to require masks and other exceptional procedures should be up to the city. How such requirements are implemented in these extraordinary times is an obligation of the community at large.
Everyone should have the right to decide for themselves whether to get vaccinated or wear a mask. It is irrelevant that the complications of both are experienced by a very small percent of society. There is documented risk, especially for those with underlying health issues. It is possible to coordinate a plan where everyone’s personal interests are taken into consideration.
Churches throughout the city could be used for classrooms to separate those who desire to wear a mask and those who don’t. Teachers who feel vulnerable could teach by Zoom to a classroom. Volunteer teachers who are comfortable being exposed to the children could facilitate the curriculum. Difficult or challenging, maybe, but not impossible. What is required is that the community take control of its own authority and decide on the simple central objective.
Mayors should not act unilaterally. They should be part of the process to achieve consensus. What is necessary for common purpose for the greater good is common respect for each other. First is a belief in the rights of an individual to make a personal decision without judgment. Second is respect for different individual needs. And third is the commitment to respect everyone’s decision for process in the pursuit of happiness. This respect can be summed up by the Christian principle of love your neighbor as yourself.
The same unity of community could be exercised in addressing healthcare and poverty, albeit with more complexity. The point is that we are blessed in the United States to have local authority. We should seize it rather than abdicate it to a federal government that is incapable of meeting the operations of our local needs.
The answer to our problems is to drill down into the needs and processes of our cities to get right that which is in our local reach. In so doing, we will save our states, and therein, save our nation.
We can hold the federal government accountable by caring for and respecting each other, city by city. Without accountability, the federal government, through its incompetency, will become totalitarian. In this case, an element of history does not just repeat itself, it is a constant axiom that history reflects.
In consideration of community authority vs. authoritarianism, do not allow the result of totalitarianism by default.
Trust in your neighbors to work towards common community values when they are given the human dignity of your respect.
My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.
What do you believe?