Editorial: To heal a wounded nation, start locally

Editorial: To heal a wounded nation, start locally

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On a national stage, two U.S presidents are in a tug-of-war for the soul of our nation. 

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden (D) and former President Donald Trump (R) presented disparate visions for the American future. Despite diametrically opposing messages, one theme unifies these speeches: Americans stand at a crossroads in our history, and our trajectory is undecided.

Numerous problems plague our policymakers in Washington, from national security, economic uncertainty, immigration policy, among many others. In the face of these seemingly unanswerable questions, we must remember that all politics is local. Before we can even consider pondering the great questions of our time, we must first get our affairs in order here at the community level. 

From town and village halls to school boards, environmental demonstrations, civic meetings, and everything in between, our residents grapple with the most pressing issues confronting our communities. We find particular examples of the nation’s broader, systemic issues within these forums. 

What does it mean to have a representative voice in government? What is an equitable distribution of public resources? How and where should we build, and to what end? 

We are wrestling with these unsettled questions right now. At the local level, our citizens learn how systems operate. With this understanding, we begin breaking down the great questions into bite-sized, manageable tasks. 

In time, we will accumulate small wins. This formula can be scaled, meaning we can soon apply our takeaways from local politics to the higher levels of government.

We hold that this bottom-up approach is the best course of action, both for our residents and nation. Locally, our voices ring louder, our votes weightier. Let’s fix our problems here first, then set our sights on issues further from home. 

We must first create a solid foundation to build something meant to last. May we heal this divided but unbroken nation. May we find solutions to problems both near and far. And may we never lose faith in the principles that unite us as community members and Americans.