January 20, 2010

Seeing Office as a Possibility

Justin Katz

I found this email, posted in the Corner, last night, to be very encouraging:

I am a 28 year old WASPy Conservative. I never went through a liberal period. This race made me actually ask myself the question, "Could I run for our House seat and make a go of it?" I know the answer, and it is a resounding "no" as I have no political experience whatsoever. But, I wonder how many good conservative-minded people who DO have that experience are wondering the same thing! Nobody thought Mass. could elect a Republican. It looks like it'll happen. This gives so much hope to the rest of us living in seemingly hopeless districts or states . . . I need to live vicariously through these Massachusetts voters who finally have a voice that matters!

Hopefully, the tea party movement and general disaffection with the way government has been run, from the town to the national level, is inspiring people to reengage with civic processes. Ultimately, that's the only way for democracy to maintain itself — if people who believe in limited government actually participate in governing.

For my part, I superficially toyed with the idea of running for lieutenant governor on a promise to compile a browsable list of all of the foolish mandates and regulations in state law — actually using the position for something useful. It turns out, however, that in order to run, one must be willing to campaign, and my preferences for civic engagement lie elsewhere.

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This post does not display an unusual attitude. It has long been known, through surveys of successful businemen and the like, that "public service" is seen as dishonorable. The necessity to expose one's private life in a campaign is also a deterrent for many.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at January 20, 2010 10:20 AM
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