Laws and institutions are constantly tending to gravitate. Like clocks, they must be occasionally cleansed, and wound up, and set to true time.
–Henry Ward Beecher
Part of Minot is broken.
It’s not because of a flood.
It’s not because of poor leadership.
It’s not because of corruption or conspiracy.
It’s not because we aren’t trying.
And it’s not because we don’t care.
Minot’s broken because our democratic system stopped working.
Minot, particularly at the City level, is in a destructive feedback loop whereby apathy and distrust lead to inaction and ineffectiveness which leads to apathy and distrust.
How do we break the cycle? How do we fix the system? Those questions are worthy of a conversation, but here’s a start: We need to cast off our cargo cult democracy, we need to simplify our system and restore a true democratic process. Elections by themselves mean nothing; it’s what they represent that matters, and what they represent is choice.
Over the last several election cycles, we’ve been robbed of the opportunity to choose. A willingness-to-serve, while commendable, should not be the standard by which we elect leadership. We need a democratic system where we choose leadership based on principles, ability, and vision. ()
The City of Minot has as many elected officials as Bismarck, Fargo, and Williston combined! Our City Council is too large. () Our Alderman/Ward system is too complicated. () We are making the democratic process too hard.
It’s time for reform, it’s time to reset, it’s time to simplify.
Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right — a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world.
— Abraham Lincoln