Most of the prepping sites I’ve seen concentrate on what you can do to prepare for the aftermath of some disaster. They fail, often miserably, to discuss what I refer to as the “beforemath.” That is the events occurring in the here and now before disaster strikes. What I have hoped to accomplish with this blog was introduce you to some hobbyist possibilities with an aim towards self-reliance and preparedness. The overall aim is to give you some enjoyable activities and hopefully even pastimes to do before disaster strikes, that will help you when disaster does strike. If you, for example, happened to get into carpentry or woodworking as a hobby, then you will find yourself well equipped to deal with the effects of a tree landing on your house or your roof getting torn off during a storm. In the meantime, you have fun building neat things out of wood. Going out on the water with a Spoon lure or an Adams fly you made yourself and catching something edible, or growing tomatoes out of a re-purposed cat litter bucket not only imparts a sense of accomplishment, but helps ensure you’ll have at least something on the table to eat, and at the very least will help keep the food bills down a bit. All of this is important because disasters are temporary affairs, things get fixed, and life goes on regardless. While there is quite a bit you as an individual can do in the way of preparedness with your family and property, there is also the bigger picture of your community, state, and country which is the government’s responsibility. Unfortunately, the government’s priorities have often been with matters other than disaster preparedness and emergency management. While the US Government Accountability Office reported recently that Federal disaster response has been getting better, there is still plenty of room for improvement. This all boils down to funding, but if we have to pay taxes we might as well get something useful out of it, and I can think of worse things for the government to spend our tax dollars on.
Funding for various government functions, as well as the point of origin for new laws, is done by legislation. In chapter 3, I mentioned that information on Federal legislation is readily available online. The information includes such data as who sponsored it, who voted for it, and if it was passed into law or not. Most states and lower jurisdictions also have this information online. If not, one of the first things you should work towards is increased government transparency in your locale. From a our standpoint, if a piece of legislation helps promote or assist individual or community self-reliance and preparedness it is good. If it does not, then it is either bad or irrelevant depending on whether or not it negatively affects individual or community self-reliance and preparedness. For our specific purposes, legislators are judged simply on their voting record on legislation in regard to the effect it has on individual or community self-reliance and preparedness. Keep in mind that no politician is perfect, if its voting record is more good than bad, then you’ll want to try to keep it in office. If not, then you should try to get rid of it.
In this country there are two predominant political parties. They are the Democratic and Republican parties. In any particular state, the majority party will be one or the other, and as a result that party will often control the state because they hold the statistical advantage. It has been my observation that voters affiliated with a particular party will vote among party lines unless their party’s candidate disgusts them to the point where they feel that the opposition’s candidate is the lesser of two evils. Usually however, they find that because Candidate Smith is representing their party, and by association their party’s platform, that Candidate Smith sucks less than Candidate Jones because Candidate Jones is affiliated with the opposition party. What this means is that if you want an elected representative in office that is more aligned with your beliefs, your candidate needs to be a member of the area’s majority party to avoid a statistical disadvantage they will encounter in the general election. That means you and your like-minded friends need to be members of the majority party as well.
In a general election, the one where according to the Voter Election Project about half the voting eligible population votes, the candidates for a particular office are from opposing parties. A primary election, on the other hand, has candidates from the same party running against each other for the privilege of running in the general election as a representative of their party. Primaries typically have 20-30% turn out and the winning margins are much narrower. Since it requires less actual votes to win a primary, it may be possible for your group and others of similar affiliation to take advantage of this and get a candidate onto the general election ballot, where the majority of voters in the majority party will vote right down the party line.
This technique all comes down to a numbers game for the most part, and will vary from state to state. You will need enough allied voters to accomplish three tasks. The first is finding a fellow traveller who is adequately charismatic, educated, and articulate enough to be an elected public official, and willing to take one for the team by pursuing an office. They will need to present a proper public appearance, have a safe and clean background, and be able to hold their own in debates against other candidates and the press. The second task is getting on the party’s primary ballot. Each state and locale will have different procedures for doing so. Do your research. Finally, we have the third and final task. That is winning the primary. Here is where the numbers are important. Your candidate will need to have as many votes as the leading favorite candidate, plus one more. If your group can successfully accomplish all those tasks, everything is downhill from there. Your candidate will running under the majority party in a general election and have a numerical advantage to win simply because most people vote for the party instead of the person. As long as your candidate does not say or do anything to anger the majority voting base, there is a better than 50% chance they will get elected.
I know of one state where this technique was successfully accomplished. The state was Wyoming, but there are several particular characteristics of the state that may have contributed to the technique’s success. The first two are that Wyoming ranks 49 and 50 in population density and population respectively. That means a winning margin would be easier to achieve. The third is that at present voters in Wyoming can change their party affiliation at any time right up to at the polls on an election day. There has been legislation introduced to restrict the ability to change affiliation past a certain time before an election, but so far it has not been successful in getting passed. Of course, if anyone with a whit of common sense were elected by this technique, they would readily veto any legislation that could potentially endanger future successes. Wyoming Democrats started using this technique to gain more of a voice in the management of their state from the more conservative elements of the Wyoming Republican Party by getting a more moderate Republican candidate elected in the primary. Once that was accomplished it was just a matter of the majority voting along party lines, even if were done grudgingly as “the lesser of two evils.”
Will this technique work where you live? Maybe, but since people generally pay more attention to the party and the propaganda versus the person and their actual record, it becomes almost a given, based on the numbers alone, that whichever party is the majority is the one that is more likely to win. If members of a particular party care so little about an election that less than a third of them vote in their primary, and members of the opposition are able to get a candidate enough votes to win, then it’s all on them. Political party changing at the 11th hour to influence an election is considered unsporting, and in many places one will have to be a member of the party for a while before a primary to vote in it. That of course means you have to do your research, and make sure your people have been members of the right party well ahead of time. Also, if enough of you who would normally vote party A go join party B just to vote in B’s primary, you may weaken the strength of party A enough for party B to do the same in your primary. If the more vocal and extreme members of party A notice that their candidate is losing to someone who should in their opinion be a member of party B, they might get a notion that something is up and do the same thing to party B.
The technique I just detailed will work best in a state with a clearly defined majority party. There will however be instances where a voting jurisdiction will not have a well-defined battle line. My state of residence, Connecticut, runs roughly 37% Democratic, 21% Republican, and a whopping 41% unaffiliated. The remaining 1% is split among various minor parties such as Libertarian, Green, et al. While that 41% is not able to participate in a primary, they can certainly make or ruin a candidate’s day during a general election to the point where the minority party can win. Therefore any candidate in such a jurisdiction, regardless of political affiliation, needs to avoid angering or otherwise perturbing a quantity of unaffiliated voters in a sufficient amount that would result in the election going to the opposition.
As much as I would like to believe otherwise, the statistics say that nationwide half of you don’t vote, and of that percentage anywhere from 30-40% of you who do vote are independent. This is unacceptable. You should register to vote because it is one more tool that you can use to enhance your overall self-reliance and preparedness posture by participating in the process that will help elect people who will treat your special interest group more favorably than others by introducing and voting for legislation that supports your ideology and ends. You need to register an affiliation in one of the two major political parties so you can participate in primary elections because they are the event where you have a better chance of getting a candidate into the general election that sucks less than the other one.
My final advice when engaging in political campaigning for your favorite candidate is simple, and that is to follow Wheaton’s Law. You are not trying to get your own party to vote for him or her, because their minds are made up, and their vote generally follows party lines. You are not trying to get the other party to vote for him or her, because their minds are made up, and their vote generally follows party lines. You are trying to get a majority piece of that 40% that will make or break the election, and if you act like a dick while campaigning you are telling voters to cast their ballot for the other candidate.
On the surface, the Federal government has promoted individual preparedness with sites such as http://www.ready.gov/, but they don’t support it much beyond a web site and some state/local funding for what we used to call emergency management, but now call homeland security. Perhaps it is time for everyone into self-reliance and preparedness to become more politically active. Natural and man-made disasters from hurricanes to haz-mat incidents are not going away, and it’s only a matter of time before nature or human error strikes again. Individual, family, and community readiness is something so fundamentally useful that both Republicans and Democrats should be, despite their differences, be on board with. Please take a few seconds to read preamble to the US Constitution.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
I immediately see three goals in the preamble that apply to self-reliance and preparedness. They are:
- Insure domestic Tranquility.
- Provide for the common defence.
- Promote the general Welfare.
Simply put, it is the government’s job on a macro level to hep enable its citizens to prepare for, survive, recover, and I dare say even prosper during and after disasters of any kind. We pay taxes so this is able to happen. While the specifics can be subject to debate, both parties should realize that this is a Constitutional mandate that requires bipartisan support. I would like to see this happen, and maybe if enough people get on board and demand their legislators, regardless of whether they have a “D” or “R” after their name, pay more attention to this issue, we might see some improvement.
I said earlier in this book that it all begins with you. I have given you some information and techniques that hopefully you can use to enhance your level of self-reliance and preparedness, and will help you out not only in times in disaster, but also in the present, the important here and now that we all live in. Disasters will come and go If you are prepared you will most likely survive them with only minor inconvenience. However, for the time being now is the only thing that’s real.
To be continued…