Why would anyone bother getting involved JUST because of a class?
Let that sink in. You are too busy dealing with all of the complications of life (jobs, family, American Idol), added to the complications of government (Taxes, zoning, naming of trail systems), and frankly, you have zero interest in managing the community budget. Is there time left in your day to fully engage?
Unless Idol is cancelled, your box under the bridge falls apart, family members around you stop going to school, or stop getting married, or never need to go to the hospital, those few extra moments you are blessed with are precious. That free time is becoming rarer as the more dedicated mini-Stalins take the reigns at all level of government. (yes, I purposefully avoided the ‘Hitler’ word. )
We are over managed by an out-of-control Federal bureaucracy, and our local governments have never been so in-your-face with private property rights deprecation in the history of our ‘conquered’ new world. (Columbus day wasn’t that long ago) Dealing with what used to be the simplest of issues now requires a council meeting, permission, a check, and a rubber stamp.
But MSU extension has the fix. Lets teach more dunderheads how to rule effectively! The TC Ticker lays it out:
After months of discussion, MSU Extension has agreed to launch and host the training program in Traverse City in October. “Get Engaged: A Guide To Getting Involved In Your Community” will offer seven three-hour sessions at the Governmental Center aimed at educating “residents on how to get involved in their community and engage with their local government.” Classes will go from 5:30pm to 8:30pm, with sessions taught by MSU Extension educators and other leaders. Topics and instructors will include:
Session 1, October 2: Intro To Government/County Commission – Eric Walcott, How To Become A More Informed Citizen – Bethany Prykucki
Session 2, October 4: Government Accountability and Ethics – Emily Proctor
Session 3, October 9: Communicating Effectively With Your Appointed/Elected Officials And Communicating Through Conflict – Dave Rowley and Roxanne Turner
Session 4, October 11: Follow the Money: Where Do Your Tax Dollars Go? – Dave Rowley
Session 5, October 16: Rights And Responsibilities As Citizens – Emily Proctor
Session 6, October 18: How To Make Your Voice Heard – Bethany Prykucki
Session 7, October 30: Budget Simulation: Let’s Balance – Eric Walcott
MSU Extension is funding the training program, which will be offered to free for participants in its pilot edition. Organizers hope to attract up to 30 attendees for the launch. Eric Walcott, a state specialist with MSU Extension’s Government and Public Policy programs and a planned instructor for the academy, says his organization became interested in offering the program after observing a “noted decrease in civic engagement across the country” in recent years.
I must ask this: “If people aren’t involved already, will they take a class to change their minds?”
While there might very well be value in some of the class, it would come as no surprise to see it fail in it’s stated primary mission. Tools for those who are already participating will be offered, but increased civic engagement happens naturally. Tea Parties, Revolutions, voter rebellions, all of which come at some point when there is a perceived slight of the populace, or some oppressive government overreach.
We are currently undergoing such an event. It is not an overnight thing either. In the year 2009, engagement of the public increased without a how-to class. Certainly there were opportunities to learn leadership skills along the way, but it wasn’t a government funded effort as the MSU program is.
Those of us who stepped up to challenge of running for (and sometimes winning) elective office, managing local school and library boards, and inserting ourselves into our local government did not do so overnight. It took time for us to convince our significant others that it was worth the effort, and that perhaps our children and communities might have some of the advantages we had but without the overindulgent bureaucracies that seem to spawn from the government managerial classrooms at MSU.
Just the same I am going to encourage attendance at these sessions. You won’t be attending because you never had an interest. It will be the already instilled concern for all-that-has-been-done-wrong which will drive your curiosity as to what big guns will be placed in the hands of the newest breed of statist.
In all likelihood, you will gain useful skills that you can use to assist in the disassembly of such government minded shills going forward. If that is your path. Just know why these classes are happening.
Will you blindly buy the increasing ‘civic engagement’ canard?
Training is not about engagement, its about pushing back. It’s about influence, and while the revolution has been going on since the first tea parties in 2009, the sponsoring entities see a day when theirs will be diminished.
And when there is $billions in future funding for their propaganda mills at stake, that my friends, is wholly unacceptable.