A government of, by and for the people means…humans.

We seem to forget that “government” is not a machine or a process or a self-sustaining mechanism that delivers rules and funding from on high. Government is composed of humans, in all of their fallible, selfish, uniformed glory.

If we want better government, we need better humans in government. If we want better governance, we need better humans governing.

That truth is painfully clear now. A lot of the assumptions that have been made about “this is just the way it is” or “that’s how Washington works” or “it doesn’t work that way” are being blown to pieces by humans in government that are, frankly, not showing the best human qualities. Whether you can observe this departure from the norm as just that or not, and whichever side you pick (including no side because you are disgusted with everything and everyone), “government” right now is showing humans for exactly what they can be – fallible, selfish and uniformed.

It’s why it is just not good enough for “government to handle it” or for us to assume that something is the responsibility of “government”. That approach represents a structural misunderstanding of what “government” – of, by and for the people – is. It’s not a nameless machine, it is an organization of humans. Humans who consider choices, are influenced and make decisions, some of which impact one person and some of which impact the entire population of planet Earth.

You want to leave those choices to government?

Since government is composed of humans, and you, presumably, are a human, government can be composed of you. You have and represent values, experiences, opinions, and challenges that are or are not reflected by those who govern you. Don’t think you’re reflected in government? Get yourself involved. And you don’t have to run for office or have your name in headlines to accomplish that.

Support candidates you think will be good at governing. Encourage capable and somewhat willing friends and acquaintances to run for office or apply for appointed positions. Show up to meetings or email or write letters. Testify on legislation. Tell your city council member you appreciate their vote in favor of an issue you support. Start a social media campaign to oppose a horrible decision. Organize a town hall meeting or a meet and greet so that your neighborhood can access the people who represent them. And read, read, read, read, read. Then read more. Be informed, not just opinionated.

You are a human. Government is composed of humans. Want better governance? Get better humans in government.