The following guest post by Phil Van Treuren appeared in The Art of Manliness on January 20, 2010.
The concept of a man’s civic responsibility, while not conceived in ancient Rome, was certainly popularized there. Contributing to society by becoming a responsible and productive citizen was a hallmark of manliness, and running for elected office was considered the pinnacle of civic responsibility (as long as you were of the proper class to do so).
When the United States Constitution was ratified in 1787, it became the most important assertion of civic responsibility that democracy had ever seen. Our Founding Fathers knew that democratic government both benefited from manliness and refined it, crafting better men and a better country through public service.
Today, running for elected office is still one of the best ways that a man can contribute to society. There are a lot of men these days that complain about government and lament that the only people holding office, from the local level to the national, are a bunch of lousy, corrupted bums. But it will stay that way if good men confine their political activity to ranting on the couch. Start making some changes, even small ones, by running for local office.
While being a candidate in a local political campaign can be physically and mentally challenging, it is also a personally rewarding opportunity to become more involved in your community. But if you’ve never been involved in a political campaign before, launching your own bid for city council or the local school board can initially be a bit intimidating. As a recently elected city councilman, however, I can tell you that if you are a practitioner of traditional manliness, you already possess most of the qualities that a successful political candidate needs.
While political acumen is important to a local campaign, it isn’t nearly as important as hard work, good planning and a genuine desire to make your community a better place to live. Here are a few tips for kicking off your campaign the right way and making victory more likely on election day.