Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Morning Political Primer

Ever wonder what would happen if some prankster was in the crowd at the Westminster Dog show with a dog whistle? Imagine all those ears perked up. Their attention thrown elsewhere, and not at the work at hand. Suddenly, there would be all this excitement in the ring. Dogs barking, pulling on leashes, all trying to answer the call of whistle at once.

That is the scene I see when I post something with the slightest political slant to it. It is as if someone blew the dog whistle. I may post an article about making over the down town area, burying utility lines, building a new boat ramp, and get few , if any comments, but if anything political mentioned people get passionate.

I think people forget that here in America we are the government. Not the politicians. We choose them to represent us. In Sturbridge we don't have a venue large enough to hold 8000 people, so we elect representatives, and hold meetings in smaller, more controlled places.

Just makes a whole lot of sense.

Those politicians are not our rulers, they are only us. They represent our thoughts, ideas, desires for our town. We choose those to that representative position based on their intelligence, knowledge, compassion for the people, and our town, and skills they may posses.

But, based on all that, we still get very passionate when politics is spoken. It is as if folks can become passionate about a candidate, but that's where it ends. Support their election, talk them up to friends and family, but after the votes are counted, they are on their own. Not much input from the supporters after that. Sadly, most elected feel that that's where the relationship should end, too.

We seem to actually elect people to office and then just hope for the best without sharing our thoughts and ideas for improvements with those that we elected. Oh, we may bitch to our neighbors, or down at the coffee shop, and maybe the rare person write to the editor, but that's it.

It also seems that we have taken this whole election to office thing down to the very bare essentials. We pick someone we "like", and then hope they are strong enough , loud enough, smart enough to make our lives better. Then, we sit back, crack open a beer, and say "Good luck with that.", and hope for the best.

Kinda silly isn't it?

So, for the benefit of those that are new to our country I will 'splain things for you.

For the reason of not having enough space to house 8000 people, and the good chance everyone will be talking at once, we choose only a few specific people to represent us. We choose people that can make good decisions on our behalf based on their knowledge, skills, and common sense.

We, give input to these elected people as to our desires. They, in turn, will take it under advisement, perform some due diligence, and determine if the desire is doable.

Of course, there are many other things they do as well, such as the actual running of the town in concert with the Town Administrator, but one thing they are not, and that is our rulers. They aren't the emperor, the king, the duke, or the Queen of Gaflinkadink.

They are only us.

The only difference is that the candidate has walked out their front door, stuck a sign in the lawn, and put themselves out there for us to examine, and decide if they should hold office. No matter who that is, it is a brave thing to do.

If we feel that no one is worth being elected, and if we have more experience, knowledge, and skills, then we should consider running ourselves. Otherwise, we must let the "best" candidate, in our eyes, know exactly what we feel the town needs, and then choose the candidate most responsive. If we elect them and they prove to be ineffective, then next time we don't choose them.

Pretty simple really.

In the meantime, keep the passion you display before the election going strong. That same feeling will be needed to guide the official along, to sort of "tug on the leash" when he, or she, steps out of bounds, and to recognize and praise them when things go well.

Don't be the nut with the dog whistle.

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