At my second Town of Lamar Council Meeting, my colleagues outvoted me 4-1 to renew Lamar’s mask ordinance for another sixty days. They also shot down my proposal that we reopen council meetings to the public, who can currently only attend online via Facebook Live and Zoom.
That’s precisely what I expected to happen, and I appreciate their reasons: concerns about safety, etc. The big, lingering question—one I can’t get out of my mind—is “when does it end?” At what point are we safe “enough” to remove our masks?
Something with which I struggle to wrap my mind around is the authoritarian impulse. I’m not pretending I’m immune to this impulse—this desire to tell others how to live their lives, backing it up with the threat of force for non-compliance—but the older I get, what little appeal the tendency held continues to diminish.
What I struggle to comprehend is the apparent need to boss people around. I understand needing to be authoritative with children and students—setting clear boundaries, understanding actions have consequences, molding the child to become a self-governing adult—but this desire to boss around perfect strangers is increasingly foreign to me.
This impulse manifests itself in virtually every facet of our lives. It creeps in bit by bit. Modest policy proposals and laws suddenly becomes weaponized Karenism, empowering authorities and otherwise normal people to swagger about with impunity, assured of the righteousness of their cause du jour.
I’ve had my first Lamar Town Council meeting and am slowly learning the ropes of the Town and its needs. I’ve grown up with local government—my father worked in municipal government for thirty-seven years, doing everything from reading water meters to managing human resources, and now is the town administrator for a small town in his semi-retirement—but I’m learning how little I really knew going into it.
As such, I thought I’d share some of my initial reflections, and what I’ve learned so far. Note, I won’t go into anything that’s not public information (to my knowledge, I haven’t learned anything confidential as of yet), but just offer up some of my observations as I’m learning the lay of the land.
That all said, it’s been an overwhelmingly positive start, and I’m excited to dig in, learn as much as possible, and help out however I can.
Seven of the States were in New England of the Mid-Atlantic: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The other nine were California, Michigan, Ohio, Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia.
While I certainly don’t like seeing Southern States in that list (I’ll consider West Virginia “honorarily Southern”), their inclusion makes sense. Mississippi is a great State, as I imagine West Virginia is, too, but they’re not exactly hotbeds of opportunity. Similarly, Louisiana is so corrupt, it’s little wonder that it’s shedding inhabitants.
The rest of these States make perfect sense: New England and the Mid-Atlantic are hotbeds of failed progressive policies and social justice insanity. Reading photog’s posts at Orion’s Cold Fire gives a good sense for the besieged nature of conservatives in his State, Massachusetts. I once spoke with a pharmacist who relocated his family from either Connecticut or Vermont—I can’t quite remember now—who said he had to move South because he was run out of his job for not supporting abortion.
Today is Groundhog Day in the United States, one of those throwaway observations that gets some cute stories in the news about a rodent spotting its shadow and a handful of opportunistic sales events sandwiched in between MLK Day and Presidents’ Day. It’s ubiquitous enough to make it into the papers and the home page of your preferred search engine, but not significant enough to get a day off work.
I primarily remember Groundhog Day as a career-shadowing day for high school students. When I was in high school, I spent one “Groundhog Shadowing Day,” as the administration called it, shadowing a college history professor at the University of South Carolina-Aiken. I remember being overawed by the specificity of the historical research papers his college students were writing (in the way a first grader marvels at a fifth grader who writes an entire paragraph, not just one sentence), and chuckling to myself at his pro-gun control op-eds. Even back then I knew college professors were loopy.
The following year I had the opportunity to shadow my State representative, who I remember as having a rather red-cheeked appearance and jovial manner. I was still under the impression that politicians were somehow elevated beings, people possessed of occasional foibles and shortcomings, but ultimately intent on serving the public interest. Ah, yes—the naïveté of youth. I’ll never forget an energy lobbyist slapping him on the back and telling me, “I know Skipper will look out for us.” Indeed.
Otherwise, Groundhog Day doesn’t loom large in my mind other than as a fun Bill Murray movie in which he woos a beautiful South Carolinian, Andie MacDowell. Indeed, that film seems to have brought the holiday into the larger consciousness of Americans, as it had largely been a Mid-Atlantic—Pennsylvanian, really—observance up to that point.
It’s been an eventful week, so I figured an extra post today running down the posts from the past few days would be worthwhile. Also, I’m a slave to the WordPress daily streak counter, and when I scheduled this morning’s post on Wednesday, WordPress for some reason immediately e-mailed a preview; ergo, I want to make sure I get the daily post streak. Gotta keep the streak alive!
“The Last Day of Freedom?” (Tuesday, 19 January 2021) – Some musings on life under the (then-pending) Biden administration. Contra one anonymous commentator’s claims that I was lying and fearful, a closer reading of this long post indicates that I am optimistic, not about the national government, but about local government and community-building.
The day has arrived—the briefly delayed third term of Obama’s presidency. In the years since Obama left office, the progressive Left has become even more insane. After a four-year reprieve under Trump, the radical progressives aren’t going to let another opportunity pass to transform the country completely.
Here we are, 19 January 2021—the last day of basking in liberty before Biden the Usurper assumes the throne. For all his personal foibles and occasional missed opportunities (while acknowledging, of course, his many achievements), President Trump at least fought to ensure that Americans could enjoy freedom and opportunity. Under progressive rule, no such guarantees exist.
But rather than look about gloomily at what is to come, I’d like to offer some words of exhortation. Times will not be easy for conservatives and Christians over the next four years, but I’m trying to embrace this new progressive era with some cautious, small-scale optimism.