I attend a reasonable number of municipal meetings in a week, not only because there's so little on television (attempted joke) but because so much of the differences in our lives as residents comes from the action and engagement of friends and neighbors who volunteer to serve on our community advisories, boards and committees. So many people in the same device. And while I applaud the collective energy, I’m not sure we’re looking at the world we need to build in the most logical manner possible.
The current concern is The Budget We Don't Yet Have. We've had professionally impartial people warn, as recently as Monday night before the City Council meeting, that much of what we believe about the fiscal health of Connecticut is wrong. There is no rainy day fund, there is no quick fix or silver bullet but, rather, we are told, there's a long, hard process involving lowered expectations, reduced entitlements accompanied by higher taxes. So far all we’ve been willing to do is talk about doing something-the nature of the what-to-do is still vague.
Except when you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there. Look to our recent past. Three months ago, you couldn't find more than a handful of people who thought investing in downtown economic development was a good idea much less worth over three million dollars of public bonding. As election day grew nearer, that sentiment seemed to shift and in the last couple of weeks (since the election) I've yet to meet anyone who voted 'no' on the downtown development bond (though someone must have). However, instead of residents attending Wednesday Team Norwich meetings or dropping in on Saturday workshops, we've gone back to seeing the same (few) faces in those familiar places while interest has continued to tail off.
School improvement, economic development, smart growth, equitable taxation, infrastructure improvement and investment, the bare bones on how our government should work versus how it seems to work. All of these topics are critically important especially at this point in our journey as a nation and none of them are the flavors of the month that so many of us see them as based on our interest right now.What to do has become more a question of what to do next, with the question stretching to the horizon.
The Global Village, the Brave New World Order, Tomorrow is Another Country-whatever you call whatever we are becoming requires we adopt the discipline of a long-distance marathon runner when developing solutions, concentrating on the path as well as the goal. When confronted with unopened doors, we have no choice but to turn the handle and step across the threshold to continue the journey.