By John C. Thomas
My high school government teacher taught me that civic responsibility was more than just voting and paying taxes. She said keeping informed and participating is an ongoing duty of citizenship. But I didn’t like most of us until an event in our township over 40 years later got me really riled up. My wife and I raised our family in Chester County Pa. We lived in a small mostly rural township with about 3,300 residents and governed by three township supervisors elected to staggered six year terms. The supervisors without any notice to the public doubled our township taxes, claimed it was a mistake and then refused to do anything about it. All three were so-called Republicans better defined as RINO’s.
So, several of us (all registered Republicans) decided to attend a monthly supervisors meeting some of us like myself for the first time ever. What we watched were three dismissive and arrogant self styled potentates. We found out that one supervisor was up for reelection and the deadline for candidates to file was only two weeks away. One of us knew someone who would run and we got him signed up. None of us knew squat about how to run a campaign, we made every mistake in the book and we lost the election by a mere 25 votes. That was the energizer.
For the next two years one or two of our group that never numbered more than a dozen attended supervisor meetings, then we ran another resident for supervisor and we won. The next challenge was to make sure our guy didn’t quit out of frustration. The two RINO‘s made our guy miserable, refusing to share township information with him, snubbing him every time they had an opportunity. The worst thing they did was to con the local police into raiding his wedding reception. At… his… house! (I’m not kidding).
Five years after we attended that first township meeting, we got the second supervisor elected which basically ended the RINO’s reign of arrogance. The third RINO saw the writing on the wall and resigned. In the meantime, these RINO’s took the township finances from a surplus of about $500,000 to a deficit of about $750,000. Township revenues were only in the $1 to $1.3 million range. Every tree hugging consultant, engineer or lawyer on the planet (so it seemed) was on the township payroll and we had an empire building police chief to boot. In their first year our team cut expenses to the point that they cancelled township taxes. Within three years township deficits turned to a surplus of $750,000. The local press ignored their accomplishments and the Republican Party treated us like the black plague when we needed help with our campaigns. However, our biggest adversary was the apathy of our residents. I will never forget all those who complained about the RINO’s then never showed up at a township meeting and never voted. That’s how politicians become potentates.
The point I want to make is this: If it took over 5 years to effect change in a township of only 3,300 people how long is it going to take to change a nation of over 300,000,000? The current political system is corrupt no matter who is elected and the tea party movement may be too little too late. If you want change get off the couch and start earning your citizenship. It’s time to start thinking outside of the box.
John C. Thomas
Lives in Denver, Lancaster County, PA