NOTE: The following is OPINION. It is the Point of View of the author, and he alone takes full responsibility for the content therein.
Some of the more famous (and cowardly) political pundits rarely venture outside the safety of their bunker, er, office, choosing to hide out and never risk confrontation by being amongst those that disagree with them. I mean, why should they rub elbows (or other body parts) with the smelly masses?
But I’m one of those that enjoys getting out and mingling with other residents here in town, be it Town Hall meetings, the Farmers’ Market, or just talking with neighbors.
So it was this morning. I was wandering around, taking photos of some of our little town’s charming scenery, when I began talking with a group of people who were pretty much doing the same; enjoying the day.
At some point, a lady in the group recognized me and said “I see your name all over the place. You give your views on this or that. Why?”
I gave her a simple answer: “Because I care about our community and believe in being involved.”
The lady then began an angry diatribe on various issues: tax rates, unrepaired potholes, and the fact that less of our young people are staying in the area.
After she calmed down, I asked her if she attended any of the Town Hall meetings and vocalized her concern over the issues she had mentioned.
“No,” she stated. “That’s a waste of time.”
So, our town leaders are supposed to be mind readers regarding various issues? Is that what the lady was implying?
This is just another example of people being unwilling to speak out on issues. Reasons? Well, many, but the underlying motive for all too many is they want to avoid confrontation.
But confrontation is a simple fact of life. And at times, a necessary thing.
Imagine if George Washington had avoided confrontation with the British Army. Or if the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had not spoken out against injustice. Imagine if Rosa Parks had meekly gone ‘to the back of the bus.’
Imagine if my fellow Tennessean David Crockett had not ventured to the Alamo to confront General Santa Anna’s forces. Or if Chuck Yeager had not confronted the sound barrier.
Imagine a life without confrontation. Oh, I know it sounds wonderful, but each of us faces various forms of confrontation each day. Driving to work, in the grocery store, and even raising our children. Our lives are filled with confrontation. It helps us to remedy problems and gives us insight and understanding into opposing points of view.
Some of you by now may be saying “Fine. I’m willing to give it a go. How do I start?”
Take heed and read on.
Step 1: SPEAK OUT! Your Town Newsletter or website lists all public meetings where various issues are open for discussion by the public. Check the calendar, attend, and SPEAK YOUR MIND!
Step 2: GET INVOLVED! On that same newsletter, you can find vacancies on various Boards and Commissions that are open to be filled by people just like you, and where you will be presented with the opportunity to ‘Make a Difference.’
Step 3: USE COMMUNITY OUTLETS to let your voice be heard, such as the one you’re reading this on. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Just sign up to blog on this medium and go to it. Don’t worry about comments that disagree with your views. That means that at least someone read it.
Step 4: TALK WITH OTHERS! I don’t mean your ‘friends’ on Facebook. Turn off the TV or computer, get out of the ‘bunker,’ go outside, and interact with your neighbors. You never know what direction the conversation might take. You might even get answers to some of your problems, or help someone with theirs.
Caring about one’s community can give you a sense of well-being that never stops. Getting involved with the issues is one of the noblest acts there is.
True, by following some of these suggestions you may indeed face confrontation and opposing points of view, but isn’t our community worth it?
If you want answers to issues, you simply have to get involved. You have to be willing to face confrontation. Volunteerism is one of the building blocks of our great nation, and getting involved and being heard is never a ‘waste of time.’
But for those of you that think it is, just imagine if Jackie Robinson had avoided confrontation and given in to pressure not to play in Major League Baseball.
Si vis Pacem, Para Bellum