The national election is in seven days, but honestly I feel no excitement about it. I am registered as a Republican, but I don't feel like I am a part of the party. I don't have the money to buy influence and our local Republican Party is very weak, listless, and has no ideas about what it will take to turn our area around.
The Catawba County Republican Party seems to think that we should all march in lockstep. Well, I don't do dog and pony shows and I think a party is stronger when it has diverse opinions. That isn't to say that there should not be common ground, but I support more than Low Taxes, Gun Rights, and the Right to Life.
I believe that real politics starts close to home and home governance has more of an impact on our daily lives than what is happening in Washington. If we take care of business here, then Washington will have less of an impact on our daily lives. I do not want to be subservient to the whims and fancies of Washington (and Raleigh). Utah and Texas are both States that are as conservative as we are in this area and they are thriving. Look at the Milken numbers or the Forbes numbers. Forbes ranks the area as the 179th Best Place for Business and Careers and the Milken Institute ranks us as the 197th Best Performing City. Both of these studies include the 200 largest metros in the United States. You can believe these studies are biased if you want, but study after study represents us as the bottom of the barrel.
Folks, we have been at the bottom for years. At what point do we start looking at the people who we elect and ask them to step aside and let some people with some fresh ideas come to the fore. This area is a strong Republican area that tends to put the same people back in office based only upon party affiliation. The incumbents all say that they want to bring jobs to the area, but have they been successful? Have they really taken any steps besides showing up for ribbon cuttings?
I'm frustrated to sit back and watch the same people use a Checkers strategy in a world of 3D Chess. I want to know where our State representatives stand on the Real Estate Depression and the Wall Street banking cartel and do they have a grasp of the facts as to how all of this is negatively effecting our State. Have they seen the effect that this is having on Charlotte and how that effects our own area?
I look at the county commission race. The only thing I have heard is about the issue of keeping property taxes low and education -- yeah, I'm against education (haha!). Fact is that keeping property taxes low isn't going to make or break those of us at the bottom of the economic ladder. A 10-cent/ $1,000 rate increase would cost most of us $100 per year, but the people who own most everything around here would be paying tens of thousands more in taxes every year to the county. Do we really want to subsidize the rich folks who aren't putting money back into the community? Maybe this would force them to put some money back into the community, especially when we look at the absentee property owners who allow properties to turn to rubble and refuse to deal with the problem, because they don't see it every day.
I am all for keeping taxes low, but I believe that is just one factor in the equation. It must be balanced with making sure that infrastructure is properly maintained and kept modern. Harry Hipps gets to the heart of the matter when he starts talking about myopic views. I've read some of the political junk mail this political season and most of it says that the candidate wants to help create jobs. Candidates cannot create jobs unless they personally own a business, but they can help to create an environment that will enhance the ability of entrepreneurs to start-up and sustain businesses in our area. I have not heard any fresh ideas about how candidates would foster such an initiative.
So if the candidates want to help create a job friendly environment what do they need to do? They need to look at themselves and ask "What would spur me to start a business in this area?"
Number one, Start-Up Entrepreneurs need capital. No one is realistically talking about millions of dollar; sure it would be nice, but they need the money and facilities to get the ball rolling. Second, they need research facilities, infrastructure, and Human Resources and Capital to support their efforts and help push ideas forward to get ideas off of paper and into the factory or into the public. I think we have taken this mindset forward with the creation of the Manufacturing Solutions Center, but we need capital. Third, we need a community that does not accept the race to the bottom. We need people to demand excellence and fairness and have a willingness to put efforts forward that are not based upon personal preferences, goals, and wealth. This is the reason why we aren't gaining traction, because the vast majority of the people in this area are unwilling to do anything that does not personally benefit them in the short run.
We need politicians with energy, not hum drum boredom. If they are out of ideas, then it is time to bring forth new candidates and it is time that these incumbents do the right thing and let the new blood with fresh ideas take the stage. The parties around here are a joke, because they tell people that they need to wait their turn. That is what has created this Status Quo malignancy that is destroying a once thriving area.
Let's be honest we have one party in control in this area and that party does not really have anything to do with the original nature and intent of the Republican Party. When one looks back to Lincoln does one see a man (and a party) rooted in the Status Quo? When one looks to William McKinley, one sees a GOP party leader (and party) who wanted to protect American Economic Interests via tariffs and restricting "Free Trade." Look at the loss of manufacturing that has decimated this area. What are we supposed to do with this displaced workforce -- Euthanize them?
Yet, we have local leaders who have really made no attempt to fight this "Free for all trade" scheme. We need this to become a priority, because this gets at the crux of what has ruined our local economy. We need our local representatives to take this issue to Raleigh and Washington to create a mandate that Free Trade vs. Fair Trade must be addressed. What we have witnessed is no different than sitting back and watching your home be robbed, while complaining to the thieves. It is one thing to sit in the corner and bemoan the loss of our industry, it is another to take steps towards addressing the situation in a constructive manner that will defend our community's viability. We need to see some action!
This is only personal to the point that I see the lack of political leadership and the negative consequences that it has had on this area. We need some people that will demand facetime in the media to promote our plight. We can no longer afford to wait our turn. I believe that we are going to see a Republican surge next Tuesday, but I don't see anything positive coming from it, because the same ole establishment will remain in place. The (accountability) can will be kicked down the road to 2012, because we don't have the Presidency, we don't have the Governorship, we don't have control of yada, yada, yada...
It is time that the people reject politicians who constantly make excuses. You serve your time. You push your agenda. When you are out of energy and/or ideas, then it is time to do the right thing and step aside for those who can move us forward. Think about the great politicians of our time, did they look to constantly make excuses? It is alright (and necessary) to point where others are wrong, but only when you take action to invoke positive movement. The people can effect change when they choose to participate and hold people accountable for the policies they endorse, whether explicit or implied. The writing is on the wall, people need to realize that time is running out. We are coming to a Hold'em/Fold'em crossroads point in time in this community.