Hans Zeiger is president of the Jack Miller Center, a nationwide network of political scholars, historians, and civics teachers committed to the teaching of the American political tradition. He previously held local and state elected roles in Washington State and served in the Air National Guard.
To know a particular hometown, with its triumphs and tragedies, its gains and losses, its names and namesakes, its heroes and eccentrics, its myths and peculiarities, its landmarks and symbols, its deliberations and disputes, is to know a part of America and to deepen one’s commitment to it.
Daniel Elazar was emphatic that a “renewed sense of localism” was essential to America’s future. For Americans, this means renewed intentionality about our local communities, not merely living in one place for a sustained period of time.
In these days of Twitter democracy, when platforms for political expression are so accessible, it sometimes seems, paradoxically, that citizens have little actual say in decision making about our country’s future.