We need perspective on government shutdowns

There was a lot of heated debate when the federal government shut down a couple weeks ago, and during this all I could think about is how badly the debate was lacking perspective. Think about your daily life. How many times in the average week do you interact with the federal government? I am guessing not very many.

On the other hand, how many times in the average week do you interact with your city or county government? Most likely, this is every single day. This is because you drive on city streets that are plowed and salted in the winter, you have trash collected, and so forth.

Yes, a federal shutdown will be difficult for some people. There is no denying that fact and that hardship is unfortunate. But for most people, it will not matter at all. If your city government shut down for a week, though, that would be a problem. No police? No fire protection? No trash pickup? No snow removal? That is a very big deal.

While the federal government certainly has a lot of power, the government that matters most to your life is not the federal government. It is your local government. Plus, it is local government where you have the most influence. This is because the pool of voters is much smaller and your local government officials are much more accessible. I can speak at a city council meeting whenever I want. I cannot even attend Congressional hearings, much less speak at them.

Yes, the federal government is important, but our entire national political orientation needs to change. We need to spend a whole lot more time following and interacting with our local government, where we can make a difference much more easily.

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