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All Politics Is Local, Some Say
9/30/2015 5:24:33 PM

By Barney Blakeney 

They say all politics is local, but when I first heard of U.S. House of Representative Speaker John Boehner’s resignation effective at the end of October, I immediately thought about what that means for our local community.

I never really gave Boehner much thought. Until recently, all I knew about John Boehner was that he cries in public. Personally, I see that as a plus. Men are taught to be strong, brave, steadfast. I know it takes strength and bravery to show one’s true colors in the midst of an environment where doing such things might be considered weakness.

I also knew that John Boehner is a Republican. I don’t think that’s so bad either. I’ve found that in this life, it ain’t so important the label a man wears. Some labels are given, others are earned. I think what’s most important is what a man believes and for what he stands. In today’s world labels don’t mean a darn thing and usually bears someone else's name anyway.

I’m no political analyst and I’ve got bad eyesight, so I don’t try to figure what politicians in Washington, D.C. are doing. I catch enough hell dealing with the jokers right here in our local community. Shysters all! I figure if we keep the local yokels in check, the effect will work its way up the chain. Still I watched Boehner every now and again. I didn’t like what he and House Republicans tried to do with the threatened government shutdown of 2012. Even as Beohner effects his resignation, it seems the Republicans are up to the same old tricks.

I only half watched President Barack Obama’s second inauguration speech. I remember seeing Boehner sitting behind the president as he delivered the speech. The guy acted as if he was on Mars somewhere, totally distanced from what was going on before him, as if neither Obama nor his message mattered.

In more recent months, I’ve gotten the feeling Boehner is just a guy with thoughts about how government should run just as I have my thoughts about how government should run. Our thoughts aren’t always similar, but I’m thinking Boehner is a guy you can work with on most issues. What I’ve read about his work in Congress makes me think he knows the art of compromise.

Boehner reminds me of some local Republicans I’ve met. And one or two Democrats, now that I think about it. Folks who believe in the stated ideals of their party. They see things from a different perspective than mine. But for the most part, they’re fair-minded people. I’ve had the privilege of meeting some locals among the leadership of the Republican Party. Several said they don’t support the Tea Party faction which now seems to be forcing Boehner’s resignation. Despite their assurances, I’m concerned that the trickle down effect of the Tea Party that’s driving the political machine in Washington could drip into the local waters of the Cooper and Ashley rivers which meet at Charleston to form the Atlantic Ocean.

I like the concept of the tea party. Not the fools who call themselves modern-day tea partiers, but the concept which bred them. As a Black man in America, the Boston Tea Party of 1773 led to neither my liberation nor that of my ancestors. The tea party of 1773 led to a rebellion that facilitated the enslavement of my ancestors. I’m concerned the tea party which now forces Boehner out of office will further facilitate the enslavement of my people.

I’m thinking if that group, estimated to be some 10 percent of Republicans, is powerful enough to force Boehner out, how much more will it influence things like Obamacare, public school funding, fair wages and housing? If all politics is local, as we approach the November 3 general elections, electing representation that works for the benefit of all constituents not just special interest groups, becomes more important. If all politics is local, looking to state wide elections in 2016, electing representation that works for the benefit of all constituents becomes paramount.

I think Boehner’s resignation must become a rallying call for us. If the tea party is powerful enough to shake the leadership of the Republican Party, it will have a profound effect on how we live in this country in years to come. If all politics is local, the politics that is reshaping Washington’s hierarchy, surely will reshape our local community. At the polls in November and next year we must remember all politics is is local.

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