Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Act locally

I spent the evening at a Common Council meeting in Middletown, listening to, and participating in, a debate amongst my neighbors about a proposed neighborhood development.

Participating in democracy at the Federal level can leave you feeling impotent. At the State level there's hardly any more satisfaction unless you can afford one of those braying AM radio commercials, or a lobbyist. But surprisingly, you still can make a difference at the local level. While we neighbors didn't agree on everything, it's terrific to hear opposing opinions, and consider options you haven't thought about.

And while I feel my interactions with town commissioners has sometimes been contentious, I have to admire the dedication they have sitting through every minute of these meetings and rendering opinions on cases that are often complex, difficult or boring.

While democracy in Washington lurches forward like a car with a broken transmission, town democracy still gives you a sense of what America can be.


kam said...

It's amazing how one can feel empowered and a whole lot better after going to a town or board meeting, even if your ideas are shot down. Democracy works, as long as you don't shove it down somone's throat.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this.