Op-ed by Rev. Michael Vaughn
While it is very good to be mindful of who we vote into federal offices, it is extremely important that we understand that “all politics is local”. The most impact that we will see on our lives are due to the policies of local politicians. As such, we mustn’t allow the media to get our focus off the real issue. When something like what happened to Daniel Prude occurs, we can reach out to the mayor and city council for remedy and hold them accountable. There is no need to march on Washington demanding that President Trump do something about this. This was a local police issue that needs to be dealt with locally.
Here in the city of Rochester, in the state of New York we have seen firsthand how politics are local and how important it is to work with local politicians to accomplish the changes we want to see in our community. Through what has occurred with the arrest and subsequent death of Daniel Prude the people of the Rochester and surrounding region have been given an up close and personal civics lesson on how voting and governing in America works. If we really take heart to what is going on, there are many, many lessons that can be learned here.
In the city of Rochester we have Democrat Mayor and the city council members are all Democrat; the Attorney General of New York State is a Democrat. The Chief of Police in the city is selected by and reports to the Mayor. This dynamic sets up the civic lesson. There are many people in the media, activists, Democratic politicians, etc., who have tried to pin the violence in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, etc., on President Trump. However, what we see in the city of Rochester is that the President had NOTHING to do with what happened to Daniel Prude nor the lack of information about his arrest and death. This scenario that has played out here is an example of how government functions here in America. The mayor selects a police Chief, the police chief reports to the mayor and the city council writes the laws and helps provide oversight to the departments where the mayor has control.
When Daniel Prude was arrested and subsequently died, the police chief would have been notified and the mayor consulted. Based on reports the State Attorney General was made aware of what transpired. The decisions that followed would have been made by these state and local officials.
We have seen that the Mayor of Rochester has been responsive to the outcry from the citizens of Rochester. I believe that there have been ridiculous demands from some, however; the point is that we have access to city hall and can let the mayor know and therefore the police chief that we are not happy with what has occurred and demand that answers be given. This could not happen if the authority didn’t reside on the hands of the local officials.
We need to make sure that we are not buying into the media lies regarding the national state of affairs when it comes to local issues. We need to understand that we have power to speak directly to our local leaders in a manner that will get results and help the community move forward. The news media likes to keep folks ignorant of how government really works and therefore they can keep division amongst various people groups and so continue to cause hatred, mistrust, etc.
They didn’t count on this case being a glowing example of how local politics handled this situation and folks realized this and kept on local leaders to come forward with answers. Not playing the “blame Trump” game and only getting madder and more tired because all the expended energy comes to naught. All politics are local, so let’s be sure to keep our local officials accountable to the issues that face our community and we’ll see change occur!
Rev. Michael is senior pastor of New Wineskin Church. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
(The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of the Minority Reporter.)