Monday, May 18, 2015

More Back Pages: Four Years Later, Don't Touch That Dial

Either we don't change very much or very well-I'm not sure I know the difference or can tell it either. What follows feels like it could have been written a minute ago but it's over four years old (Happy Birthday!) and despite its age, for the most part, is pretty much who we are, specifically in 06360 but in all likelihood in your neck of the woods as well. Reassuring monotonous stasis-at least there's something we can depend on. 

Germany's 19th Century Iron Chancellor, Otto Von Bismarck, once observed politics is the art of the possible, and it was Tip O'Neill who said all politics is local. Put both of those thoughts together and we really should have swarms of registered voters every time we have an election for City Council or the Board of Education.

While a great deal of newspaper and television coverage of Politics with a capital "P" tends to fixate on the statehouse and Governor's Mansion or on Capital Hill and the White House, for most of us it really is those closest to home, our local elected officials, whom we see as having the greatest impact on our community and our quality of life. Yes, the President is the Commander in Chief but I'm not asking him about a cracked sidewalk at the house on the corner.

We've got some time and distance to go before the next cycle of elections around here for both the City Council and the Board of Education. Lots of time for those who are incumbents to make (more) progress on those projects they took on as their terms began. And plenty of time for those who are contemplating a run at elected office to measure at least twice before cutting once.

When the time comes,I don't care how you vote so much as that you do. If you're registered to vote, make sure you do and if you're eligible to vote but aren't registered, make sure you do register. Click here for the Norwich Registrar of Voters or here's the Connecticut Secretary of the State's Web Portal. Democracy is a contact sport and we cannot win if you do not play.

Let's face it, the current terms of office of members on both bodies have not been a walk in the park for any of them. Some say we should regard a problem as an opportunity to excel and in that context those currently in office have been spoiled for opportunities. So, too, have we even when on more than one occasion I've disagreed with decisions the neighbors who serve in elected office have made.

There's a temptation when you're not Teddy Roosevelt's Man in the Arena to speculate about how well someone else might do in a particular office. Some hypothetical solutions always seem to lend themselves to much happier endings, whether those endings are real or not. I've contended had my mother married a Kennedy, I might be living in the White House-but she didn't, so I'm not. 
See how much more attractive fictional lives can be?

But in the here and Norwich in which we live, between now and November look at where we are as a city and where you see us heading. Nothing is eaten as hot as it's served and nothing's so marvelous it cannot be improved. We can always use another great idea and the energy to implement it and no one in any party has a monopoly on either.

Many believe we're rebuilding our downtown and enhancing our community's quality of life as well as our grand list. Many others are not so sure. There's room enough for both the hopeful and the skeptic. 

What we are now is what we were at the last election and the election before that. What we are to be is limited only by our willingness to find out. It's not how you start, it's how you finish and we're far from done.
-bill kenny

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