It’s a strange time for all of us. This has been a time in our personal, national, and global histories that has provided more than enough challenges — ven going to the grocery store is something that needs to be planned and executed with the precision of military operations.
However, this is a strange time in American governance at all levels. In recent memory you would be hard-pressed to find a time that required the state and local governments to take the driver’s seat, leaving the federal government to catch up.
This is important to note because we have slowly been moving towards a reliance on our federal government, upsetting the balance of federalism that this democratic republic has been based upon for centuries.
Now, however, we have the opportunity to observe what the individual states are capable of on their own when given the chance. Some people make the argument that all levels of government have asked us to trade our liberty for security, and they may have some basis for argument. This is why it is so important that now we pay attention to what our local, state, and federal governments are doing.
It is important that in this time of crisis, we keep tabs on how our elected officials are voting, speaking, and acting. Regardless of what is happening, it is still the responsibility of the American people to participate in their government at all levels.
Before this crisis reached a critical point, we were all enamored with the upcoming presidential election and it is still going on. Now is an important time to observe how different members of each branch of government are reacting to the daily changes in our current situation.
I am not going to tip my hat one way or the other to show favoritism to any parties or politicians; that’s not my purpose. I also do not want to come across as insensitive during a time of intense personal crisis or loss.
As we face the long term effects of this pandemic, we must still be ever-present participants in our government. If our participation stops, so too does our democracy.
Dillon Oney is a social studies teacher at Wilmington High School.