What’s so special about America? What makes it so distinctive – so unique?
As Americans, we enjoy a level of freedom unequaled anywhere else on Earth. How is that possible?
America has no kings, no commissars, no single-party dictators like the Chinese Communist Party, no fuehrers; no dukes, no barons, no nobility. America does not have the burgeoning, overbearing, above-it-all, answers-to-no-one bureaucracy of the socialist European Union. America does not have a clique of professional politicians, like Russia. America does not have the destructive democracy of Athens, in Classical Greece. America does not have the all-powerful, final-authority British Parliament.
In a word, Self-Government.
America’s Founders created something unique in all the world: self-government. “We the People” is more than just the first words of the Preamble to the United States Constitution. “We the People” is a deliberate, explicit statement of where the power of the United States government originates and ultimately rests – and implicitly, why that government has power at all.
We the People wrote the document that governs the government; we authorized the American government to exist. The United States government – restricted like no other government in all the world – derives its power from the governed; from the people.
Unique in all the world, the United States government does not have the power nor the authority to change this country’s Constitution.
But for that the American style of government to succeed – to prevent it from becoming like any other government – requires one thing: self-government.
Each of us, as Americans, have a responsibility to be involved in our government; to step up; to participate. Our American way of life depends on that. If we fail to take responsibility, our government will fail; it will fall. Our government will be taken over by those yearning for power; it will become their instrument, to be used for their ends – which will certainly not be in our best interest.
Taking responsibility – getting involved – as Americans is the only roadblock that stands in their way.
Taking responsibility does not mean we all have to run for Congress; we do not all have to run for the state legislature. We do not all have to run for County Council, or City Council.
We can take responsibility, first and foremost by voting. Voting is our first step to make a difference; to choose who will represent us at any level of government. But it is only a first step. There is more each of us can do – and should do.
Being a Congressman, a member of the state legislature, or a Council member – not to mention making the effort to run for election – takes time, and costs money. For most of us, that is time and money we do not have. We all have lives and interests that require time: time spent in our jobs, earning a living; time spent raising our children; time spent with our families; time spent simply enjoying our lives.
There are other ways we can take responsibility; other ways to participate in America’s self-government.
Every state has numerous Boards and Commissions. Every County has numerous Boards and Commissions. Every City has Boards and Commissions. Frequently, in areas with too small a population to incorporate into a town, there will exist a designated Special District, such as a Fire Department; it will have a Board.
You would be surprised how many Boards and Commissions there are. Many of them are only partially filled, and are in a constant search for new members. That is where each of us can be involved.
Boards and Commissions play an important role in the American way of government. Each one focuses on some aspect of government, and life: Planning Commission; Zoning Board of Appeals; Election Commission; Airport Commission; Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee; Public Safety Citizens Review Board; Youth Commission; County Water Commission – the list goes on and on.
Each Board and Commission focuses on a specific subject matter, and has the authority to take legal action in that regard. Looked at another way, each Board and Commission has powers that are not held by the governor, the legislature, the mayor, or the city council.
Crucial to America‘s well-being is the separation of powers. The Founders designed American government to prevent too much power from being held by a single person or by some elitist group. Boards and Commissions – simply by existing, and having the power they do – are part of that separation of powers.
Boards and Commissions meet on varied schedules. Many meet monthly; some only bi-monthly or quarterly. Election Commissions may meet only for an election. Meetings often last only an hour or so. The demands on the members’ time varies from more to less. Somewhere, a Board or Commission exists which fits your schedule.
Find a Board or a Commission that fits your interests and the time you have available, using the Internet. Search for “South Carolina Boards and Commissions”, and “Greenville County Boards and Commissions”. Search for “Mauldin Boards and Commissions” (or Simpsonville, or Fountain Inn). In a special district, like Tailors, search for something like “Taylors Fire and Sewer Commission”.
South Carolina also has Boards and Commissions managed by each County’s Legislative Delegation; i.e., the members of the state’s legislature who represent that County, separately from the County’s own Boards and Commissions. Search for “Greenville County Legislative Delegation Boards and Commissions”.
American government depends on your involvement. When you fail to take part, you abdicate. You relinquish your authority; you cede control of the government to some other person or a group, who becomes a de facto (and ultimately real) ruling class. American government – and the freedom and prosperity which are its product – depends on your participation in that government, if it is to succeed – if America and the freedom which is every citizen’s Right is to continue for the benefit of your children, for their children, and for all the coming generations.
American self-government is your responsibility.