You are the change agent

Published 9:23 pm Friday, April 1, 2016

In November, the voters who are ready to support anyone outside of the elite political class will be a true change agents.

At the federal, state and local levels, we have an elite, ruling political class, many of whom have never worked real jobs except to get reelected to a political position time after time.

They have no concept of the lives of many of the serfs who carry the burden of their taxes and policies, other than an expectation that we will reelect them. They believe if they continue the stream of free stuff, favors and pay-offs, then they will get reelected.

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But there is a strong undercurrent in this election-cycle, and that is to throw the bums out and to elect anyone with little or no prior public experience. The political class is coming unglued. They are demanding their rights to cling to power and to ensure any missteps by the uninitiated are either twisted or pounced upon.

But most laypeople do not expect a smooth rendering of policy statements from the political challengers. These challengers may speak off the cuff and from the heart and sometimes even get it wrong or mangle their meaning, but they can be forgiven for their missteps.

This drives the political elites and their camp-following pundits and supporters crazy. They try to make the most of every stumble by the uninitiated candidates.

But the people do not want smooth and experienced elite politicians. They want a plain-spoken, simple leader that represents them. They no longer trust the elites and their enabling pundits and talking heads.

As we look to the local election, many Suffolk voters this year have a similar view of things. There seems to be a genuine groundswell of support for anyone but an incumbent, including our mayor and councilmen. Some may prefer the “devil they know” over change, but they are in the minority this year.

Most voters feel it is time for a change, and that means declining support for the aging political class pandering for another in a long line of reelections.

It is time to decide if you really want to continue to support the ruling class, or if you want change. Will you support putting the same faces back on council, or are you ready to take a chance on new leadership?

If you want change, be practical. Understand that the new faces will not be as smooth, or as practiced with the ready sound bites as the professional political class is. They will stumble, and they will need your support.

If you believe like many of your neighbors that change must happen, what will you do beyond simply voting? Will you help get signatures, organize, provide personal and financial support, and talk to your friends and neighbors who you know that also want change?

I cringe every time I hear new entrants like Donald Trump get pummeled over a new misspeak or blunder in policy, but I know they are closer to the new direction I personally want. I can no longer accept voting for the old guard we have suffered.

I want to try to bring change and to get involved, especially at the local level. Do you too?

If you do, please do so before it is too late. Mid-June is the deadline for applying to run in the mayor’s and council races, encompassing three of the seven seats. Step forward to run or at least to support new — even if imperfect — leaders.

Roger Leonard is from Suffolk. Email him at