The current situation in this country has a lot of people wondering what is going to happen next. The never-ending presidential campaign has created a simmering discontent for the system and the players in the game.
Hope is a long way from reality. Congress is hell-bent on doing as little good as possible, all the while posturing on all manner of issues and spending more time posing for pictures and lecturing the people than actually accomplishing any thing of merit.
This disease has spread to the state legislature as the last session was a dismal display of one-upmanship and power plays by far too many of our elected officials. It is small wonder that many folks are tired of government and elected officials.
A former Speaker of the House once said, “All politics is local.” With gas prices at an all-time high and the local economy struggling, people are angry and looking for a target. Whether these local official are responsible for or capable of fixing the problems does not seem to matter. It seems far more important that someone takes the blame. It won’t be the first or the last time that a campaign theme of “throw the bums out” was thought to be the cure-all for what ails us.
Local government is the closest we have. Whether they are mayors, councilmen, commissioners, members of the judicial system, or school board members, these elected officials are our neighbors, co-workers, relatives and friends. They work in the same companies, attend the same churches, pay the same taxes, and shop in the same stores that we do. They are accessible to us on a daily basis. Our problems are their problems. Our troubles are their troubles. Our successes are their successes. They can’t lay the blame on representatives from South Georgia, or say they are powerless against the lobbyists or special interest groups in Washington. Their whole political life is right here at home.
It would easy to say that change for the sake of change would accomplish something. The commission and the school board have had a revolving door as members have come and gone. It just doesn’t have to happen that way. Experience matters and it matters a lot. On the job training only slows down the process. And the world will keep coming. Small problems get bigger, costs increase and the solution is still the same whether it is recognized today or two (or ten) years from now. There are no great secret solutions hiding out there waiting to be discovered.
We are blessed in this community with a number of dedicated public servants whose only desire is to see that the greatest good is done for the greatest number of people. These elected officials do not see themselves as politicians. They are plain speaking and honest, doing the best they can in difficult times. Both the school board members and the county commissioners have struggled to provide needed services to the county asking only the minimum tax dollars required. While others systems have struggled to maintain services for their citizens, these elected officials have managed to improve the quality of life in this county.
It is admirable that we have an abundance of candidates in this year’s elections. Their interest and desire to serve is to be commended. It would have been nice if they had been involved in the process all along, participating in the various public hearings and not just putting their names forward when the elections rolled around. There are plenty of opportunities to serve in the county where they can be part of the process, learning the challenges that face us today.
Campaign slogans and empty promises will not solve these challenges. Hard work and realistic solutions will enable the county to thrive while protecting those who are most threatened by the encroaching growth.
Your vote on Tuesday, July 15, is important. Many of these local races will be decided then. Let’s hope that we can continue to work toward a clear vision for our future: a future that will allow all our citizens to Believe in Barrow.