Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Leap of Faith Requires Faith

We get the government we deserve, unless we are really lucky and in recent years no one where I live in Norwich, Connecticut, has been accused of being lucky. We are becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy because we’re accustomed to being less than successful and have chosen to accept problems that are familiar over solutions that are not.

Not just in here in The Rose of New England
but across the country we've lost sight about what we originally formed government to do (that which we as individuals cannot do) and the most effective and efficient means to do it. With the summer of our discontent behind us and anger at all things incumbent running at record high temperatures less than a month before Election Day something about baby and bath water comes to mind but is rarely uttered aloud.

Tabla rasa is the phrase of the day and seems to be the way we’re leaning as the first Tuesday in November nears. Local government blames Hartford and the representative and executive branches in Hartford blame one another when they’re not blaming Washington. We’re passing the buck so quickly, we’re making change with it.

In Norwich we have stood the local revenue stream on its head, depending too much on private citizens and not enough on the commercial sector. Property owners can’t afford to stay here, and the overall economy makes it too expensive for them to leave, so property owners, falling behind on their mortgages and taxes, walk away from their dreams, adding to the burden everyone who remains in Norwich must bear. There is no respite and no place to pause and catch our breath.

Tomorrow rushes in with new demands and even higher expectations and we have fewer resources than were available yesterday to create solutions that will start us in a new direction. It’s a basic principle of physics that a body in motion remains in motion while one at rest remains that way. And it’s a political reality that Norwich is stuck on standing still. Everyone loves a reward but is loath to accept any risk. The danger in a leap of faith (which is what trusting one another to do the right thing is), isn’t the leap—it’s the landing.

Many have talked for decades about a plan for community renewal that would foster and stimulate economic development but when offered an opportunity to endorse referendum questions on the November ballot that represent almost a year’s work by citizens from across the city, many have chosen to step back rather than step up. When does a missed opportunity become our last chance and how will we know it if it's already happened?

Ask me again on November 3.
-bill kenny

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