Another question that comes up always after Christmas, mainly out of obligations of small talk, is what did you get for Christmas? Was it all worth it? Did you have a good Holiday? Well, for me, this year, I did have a great Holiday. But it wasn’t just family gift exchanges that I enjoyed. Just a few days before Christmas, at the Liberty Township Building just down the road from my house, Todd Minniear was sworn in as my next trustee, one of three. He is the product of a series of off-year elections where constitutional conservatives were targeted for election to either replace liberals or offer a more conservative candidate aside from the ones traditionally provided. For me, it was quite a nice Christmas present to have Todd give me a call and invite me to his swearing-in, which I went to and was greeted there with a kind of class reunion from the various campaigns of 2021, and it was nice to see all that hard work come to some positive culmination. I say it all the time, if you want a good government, then put good people in it. Don’t just sit on the couch and hope things work out alright. Either run yourself for an office locally or support someone who wants to. After the Trump presidency, that was certainly my story where obvious political shenanigans to remove him from office took place. The audacious behavior of the national establishment is something I’ve seen plenty of times locally, over thirty years. And the election of Todd Minniear, a constitutional and freedom-minded purist, was a significant achievement in my community and was a sign of things to come nationally.
Another thing I say all the time to just about everyone I speak with is, “don’t be a victim.” Never allow yourself to be a victim in the story of your own life. Those people we put into elected positions in our republic are never supposed to be our “betters” or some useless member of an aristocracy. They are there to represent us. But that’s not the way the political class views that relationship. Often, they get into public office for the attention of it and the power that follows by having their hands on the levers of rules and regulations that govern our lives. In the case of a local trustee, the question is often, “can I build a new pole barn on my property to hold my classic car.” The politicians usually will reply, “but think about the lowered property values of the community. They don’t need to be penalized because you want to protect some gas-guzzling old car that should be on the junk heap, according to the United Nations.” They don’t say that they often work to protect the interests of those who give them campaign donations to keep them in power instead of representing all the community’s people all the time. I’ve been involved in politics in some way or another all of my adult life, and I have seen all the kinds of corruption that can come out of it, all the ugly stuff. And I understand entirely how that corruption comes about and how to fix it. The solution is to follow the Constitution of the nation and our state. If everyone did that, things would work pretty well. When politicians get away from the constitutions and bring their personal desires or biases to an issue, that’s where corruption starts.
I don’t think any politician gets into a public office with the idea of becoming corrupt. They get that way because they lose their way while solving problems. Corruption starts to eat away from them once they get off the constitutional script. For instance, I have several very close personal friends who are politicians. People like George Lang. I’ve known George for a long time since he was a trustee in West Chester, well over a decade ago. We bonded over Tea Party ideas of small government and the novel by Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged. George has a habit of giving that novel out as a Christmas present at Christmas time. He believes in the ideas in every aspect of his life. Even though now he is an establishment figure, he is still the same person.
Because he is a big-time senator within the state, many people assume that politics has made him corrupt. But I know personally, it hasn’t changed him at all. He’s still the same Atlas Shrugged-giving guy. We might remember when Paul Ryan was also an Atlas Shrugged fan, but when Mitt Romney wanted him to be his VP, all that Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand stuff was tossed away so that they could become the next power player in congress, eventually becoming Speaker of the House. Some people can handle the pressure of public scrutiny, and some can’t. George can; Paul Ryan couldn’t. Power has a way of altering people into the most profound things in their hearts. George, for instance, at this Todd Minniear event, was pressed about several projects that involved tax money distribution. His answer was a classic George Lang line, and he didn’t just say it because I was there. It’s what he says all the time to everyone, “don’t give the government or me any more tax money. We’ll just spend it. Keep your money. Our job is to take the barriers out of your way to living a good life.”
I’ve watched several good politicians like George Lang get elected into more and more positions over the years. And at that Todd Minniear swearing-in, several of our Lakota school board members newly elected were there as well, more parts of a future solution. Locally, I’ve always looked to West Chester to ensure more small-government ideas found their way to the trustees. My friend Mark Welch and others there have done a great job of keeping the government’s small and business engagement very high. It is the model of what should be happening all over Ohio. And if we can primary Mike DeWine as governor of Ohio and replace him with Jim Renacci, we’ll be able to do great things in Ohio. But Liberty Township is where I live, and the trustees there have always been Republican, but more of the Paul Ryan type, and not so much that of George Lang. At the start of the election in 2021, I didn’t think a freedom candidate like Todd Minniear could find his way on a Republican Party that was still much more like the Republican Party nationally of 2012 and not so much like the Trump Republican Party of 2020. But Todd won with a solid majority, and he had a tremendous amount of people show up to support him, which is unusual at these kinds of events. And as I stood there watching Jennifer Gross, our member of the Ohio House, swear in Todd, I could see where our country was headed. And it made me very happy to see. All the hard work that goes into these kinds of things was certainly worth it. For those wondering about it, I would say that doing such things is some of the best Christmas presents you could give yourself. Often there isn’t much personal satisfaction in politics but putting the right people in the correct positions at the right time through a vote is one of the most rewarding things anybody can do in a healthy republic. And in Liberty Township for Christmas of 2021, I can say that seeing Todd Minniear sworn in for public office was the highlight of my Holiday season.