Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Everything Works if You Let It

I had someone I've known for sometime stop me over the weekend while I was in the grocer's to tell me he didn't realize I was such a 'big fan of City Hall Knows Best.' I told him I didn't know what he meant and he suggested some of my more recent Wednesday Whines have been, as he phrased it, 'just commercials for even more government and taxpayer-funded projects that won't work.' Well, shiver me timbers, matey; I think one of us is reading somebody else.

I don't have a particular politics, especially when we're talking my local zip code. When cornered, I will admit to being a Relentless Pragmatist. I think if you look at the correspondence between the The Founders, the documents they used to create this nation to and through The Federalist Papers, they weren't too keen on ivory tower concepts preferring down-to-earth as they built this Republic. I don't think I'm alone in NOT seeing government, at any level, as either the solution to every problem or the obstacle to finding solutions.

I don't pretend to know if it's us or the times in which we live, but we (and I mean all of us across the country and not just here in The Rose City) suffer from selective memory while also lacking the capacity to forgive. Not even a year ago, we elected a substantially different City Council than we had previously. One of the promises each of those elected had made while a candidate was to do what he/she felt best to advance Norwich economically, politically, emotionally and socially. That promise is the critical component in making our government work.

I leave to your judgment what has happened, or not happened beyond our City limits-I have just the right size brain to think locally, and so that's what I do. All of us have to believe those whom we elect to the City Council or the Board of Education will do the best they can for all of us, to the best of their ability, always (or at least more of the time than they won't). Many of us voted for the very people whom, in recent months we've had less than kind thoughts and words about for their attempt to master economic challenges none of us could have possibly imagined. 

Too often we've become so partisan, even in much of what goes on in our State Capital, that I wonder what's gotten into us. We're spectators, actually consumers, of political campaigns where a candidate decides 'for me to look good, my opponent needs to look bad' and no issues of substance are ever debated or even mentioned. As awful as that is, in terms of tone and tenor of a campaign, it's even worse for us, those who must decide for whom to vote and choose a direction when everyone is leading us in circles.

This election we are choosing a Governor, Senator, Congressional representative and populating a whole new statehouse, upper and lower chamber, as well as literally dozens of other offices and deciding local ballot initiatives. To my grocery buddy, with his not-so veiled reference to the referendum questions to stimulate private sector investment in Norwich by using public money to strengthen infrastructure, I, too am tired of throwing tax money behind ideas that couldn't (and didn't) work. 

Having watched all the hard work (to include a bit of shouting and some storming about) accomplished since last winter to create the strategy that became the bond questions discussed at Monday's public hearing, for me the choice is simple, especially since I already know what happens when we do nothing. 
-bill kenny          

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