Friday, September 30, 2016

Exactly What Is Wrong with Us, America?

By Robert Schilt, Washington CSG Graduate

I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of Constitutional power.”Thomas Jefferson

What is wrong with us, America? The answer to that question is, “I am.”  We are, each of us, what’s wrong with America.
Language of Liberty

As citizens of the United States we are responsible for what takes place in our country and each of us has an opportunity to affect how our country is governed. The problem is that we are not exercising our power to control instituted government. The government and the elected officials who work in centralized government are permitted only to exercise the powers granted them in the Constitution. In short, centralized government has the authority that we, as citizens, award it.

The Constitution of the United States specifically addresses the delegation and separation of powers. It is our civic duty as citizens to make certain that the boundaries specified in the Constitution are not blurred or violated. Our individual state constitutions agree, many stating that “all power is inherent in the people.”  It is our duty as citizens to shoulder the responsibility our founding fathers entrusted to us by making certain our elected officials do not abuse the limited powers they have been granted.

If all you do is vote, you are exercising your control of instituted government on just one day each year. Centralized government is in control the other 364 days. During the 2014 mid-term election only 36.3% of America's registered voters participated - the worst turnout in 72 years. At that rate of citizen participation, 18.15% of the registered voters, plus one, can elect the government officials who control the future of our country, our states, and our local governments. It is actually worse than that. Those statistics don’t factor in the 73 million eligible citizens who aren’t even registered to vote.

If the United States is to remain the greatest nation in history it is our duty to retain control of our future. That control starts at the local level. At the national level you, as a citizen, are one person to 537 elected officials and while you have a voice, it doesn't carry much weight with those odds. But you can make your voice heard. At the local level, your odds are much better and your voice is the most effective. All you have to do is stand up and speak.

There are a number of ways a citizen can participate apart from voting. You can go to a city council or county commission meeting to learn what is going on in your community. If you cannot physically attend these meetings, most of them are video taped and archived online so you can watch them on your computer. (If there is no audio or video of public meetings made easily accessible to the citizens, perhaps that should be the first order of business--to ensure greater transparency in your community.) You can seek out those you know to be active and involved, talk to your fellow citizens, write letters to the editor and comment at public hearings. You can request public records and research what goes on behind the scenes. Even if all you do is vote, it is essential to become an informed voter by researching the issues, the candidates and their records. If you simply listen to campaign ads or media reports without doing the necessary research for yourself, your vote cannot possibly represent your true values or opinion. Your vote will resemble firing a gun without aiming it. It could do much more harm than good.

To stay informed about what is going on both locally and nationally, I have developed relationships with people I trust and who are actively involved in government. They keep me abreast of what is really going on behind the scenes. I subscribe to local meeting notification services. I research the issues, attend hearings and at the right time, publicly comment at those hearings. I watch archived meetings and share what I have learned with like-minded friends. I write letters to the editor and public opinion articles. Perhaps most importantly, I help train and work with others in using effective strategies that maintain our constitutional form of government. Working with a team allows citizens to exponentially increase their effectiveness. If I don't have time to attend a hearing, one of our team members will have the time and report back on what happened.

A citizen or team of citizens can actually effect more positive change in local government than an elected official. Our local team was successful in getting a city to reject the elimination of dual jurisdiction, an essential element to the checks and balances in our form of government. We successfully removed an obstacle to self-governance in a city council. We were successful in putting a pillar of the community into the office of county commissioner – this had not been done in 30 years. That same team reversed a harmful decision made by a county advisory board on land use, helped stop a county-wide ban on fireworks, restored the pledge of allegiance at meetings of the county commission and was recently responsible for filling a hearing room with opponents to a new automobile license fee.

If only 30 people in a community participate in civic activism 2 hours a week that is equivalent to a full-time person working to keep local government within its proper boundaries. Samuel Adams said “It does not take a majority to prevail, but an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”

To remain free, we must participate. And if all you do you is vote in the primary and general elections, make sure you are an informed voter. Vote for a candidate who understands and believes in the use of due process under both your state and federal constitutions.

Thomas Jefferson said "An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people." He went on to say, “The qualifications for self-government in society are not innate. They are the result of habit and long training.” This means the habits of citizens keeping our government within its proper boundaries do not happen naturally or by accident. Self-governed citizens must make it an ongoing practice, on purpose and with discipline.

To learn how to properly use your civic authority, consider training with like-minded citizens and forming a highly effective team in your community. Self-governance training is not theory; it is applied civics; actual hands-on training on how to affect positive change in your community and at every level of government. For more information, go to:

The Language of Liberty series is a collaborative effort of the Center for Self Governance (CSG) Administrative Team.  The authors include administrative staff, selected students, and guest columnists. The views expressed by the authors are their own and do not reflect the views of CSG.  They may be contacted at To learn more, go to

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Media lies can’t make a bad night for the newsroom’s goddess go away

By Kevin “Coach” Collins

To say the media is shell shocked at the results of the first debate would be a gross understatement. The media is clearly panicked and in a frenzy, not only by Hillary Clinton’s lackluster performance, but by the results of more than a dozen “Who won?” snap polls conducted immediately after the last softball pitched to Hillary Clinton by the partisan hack masquerading as a moderator.    

On Monday night The Charlotte Observer put together a focus group of 21 reportedly undecided potential voters from the Charlotte, North Carolina area which is a longtime Democrat stronghold. They had the group watch the debate and report their feelings and observations to the paper’s political reporters. By definition this means a group of largely liberal voters talked to two liberal reporters representing a liberal McClatchy news outlet.

The piece begins with a lie, “Indeed, while polls found that Clinton had won the first general-election debate with Donald Trump on Monday, she may not have won actual votes…”

There was not a single credible poll showing that Hillary Clinton came close to winning the tag team match where she and her partner, Moderator Lester Holt, attacked Trump throughout the evening.

A quick compilation of 14 of these online polls showed that Trump won each one except the laughable CNN (Clinton News Network) poll by an average of 71%/29%.

These fake reporters know that if someone is reading their article there is a good likelihood that he/she is not computer savvy and would not know how to vote in one of these polls even if they knew the poll existed.

The only place Clinton won was in the newsrooms where lies like this are concocted; not in the world we live in.

The reports from the focus group were pretty much what you could expect from the attention seekers they are.    

 The four Blacks in the group were liars too.  This quartet “recoiled” at Trump’s description of life for Black Americans as “awful.”

They were no doubt selected to insure the reporters could project the “right position” for African-Americans in a state where a recent poll found 32% of Black voters intended to vote for Trump.

In the end, the four supposed “undecided” voters who could have turned into Clinton backers said they were not going to vote for her. Trump may have gotten one new voter and the other 16 were unmoved. Bad news for the newsroom’s goddess.