It isn't always, but it can be.
At its best it ensures all people are persons, all persons are free and not owned, and those free persons can be the kinds of people they would like to be.
At its worst, wars are started based on specious theories, certain people are made scapegoats for societal ills and the state is reshaped to benefit few, rather than many.
It's unlikely a municipal by-election in a small town in Northern British Columbia would address such heady topics, but politics at the local level affects people's lives on a daily basis, and can affect how they live in profound ways.
We are fortunate in Kitimat to have six people willing to put themselves in a position to serve the public in such a way.
Municipal politics is unique in the three levels of government in Canada in that, municipal politicians serve and live amongst their constituents.
At the senior levels politicians go away to work, and even their "local" offices may not be local for all the constituents in large ridings such as ours.
Municipal politicians are always at hand, and even more so in a small community.
Regardless of any disparaging thoughts one may have of the current and past mayors and councils, we would be much worse off if people did not think enough of Kitimat to be willing to serve the city and its people.
The situation Kitimat finds itself in is not unusual, it did not happen overnight and it will not be corrected overnight regardless of who is elected in the by-election or next municipal election.
In choosing to run for council, the six candidates have made themselves vulnerable and exposed.
For this, all six candidates and past candidates, whether successful or not, should be commended for their courage.
We in the media have an integral role, not to make sure politicians get their message out, but to ensure the truth of the candidates is known.
Citizens also have an important role to play.
It’s not just to vote, but to vote in an informed way, to know what we believe in and learn which politicians support our beliefs.