Please get involved in local politics. There, I got that off my chest. I think more people should get involved in politics . The decisions made affect you, me, and future generations. It's not as hard as you may think. Meetings are held regularly. At least monthly. Newspapers, friends, and the Internet put you on the front lines for finding out where, when, and how to get to the meetings of local governments.
That said, what may you expect when you get there ? Rules, lots and lots of odd, confusing rules. But rest assured all these things are only for your benefit. The wise and kindly servants you so generously pay will make sure you are properly dressed, not allowed to be unkind to anyone, and sent away trusting that all the new money was so desperately needed to care for you. Armed guards will maintain order. All is well.
The public officials sat behind a giant table, behind a fence, behind a podium. Armed guards in the front, armed guards in the back. All the officials stood and prayed with you. All stood to pledge a peaceful assembly. The rules were explained again and we the people were invited to address the council, their advisers, and their guards. Best of all, every thing was recorded.
Four different news reporters were there, video cameras grinding away, pencils scribbling. I know, that's a tad dramatic, but I'm setting the stage. If I've bored you, know this: taxes went up.
The mayor then asked if any one wanted to addresses them. If so, then stand. Speak into the recorder, take the podium. But, first give us your name and home address. It's a rule, no speaking without us knowing who you are. Rules, very important.
Three different people were allowed to speak on the change in taxes. All three said, no. All three requested the counsel cut spending. One even threatened to move if the tax passed. After ten minutes or so, no one else chose to speak. So the meeting continued; freedom and fair play had its day.
Although by now I was quite used to such fair play, imagine my surprise when both council and audience chatted across table and fence, no names, no addresses, discussing city business far from the microphone and podium. It seems mistakes were made by city employees which were quickly forgiven by council. Que sera sera.
It was only important to businesses not present? Quickly forgotten. Along with the rules for speaking or not. But wait, an audience member had a comment, raised a hand, and asked to comment as others had. Oh no young lady, no public comment allowed but at the approved time, said the mayor!
Properly chastised, the council returned to debate for the next hour. Any difficulties with raising taxes, or public officials pay, were referred to past councils or the city charter. The tax slashing politicians hands were tied. Freely chatting back and forth produced, debate, votes taken, votes postponed, a potty break. I snuck out.
See what you missed, I still want you to get involved. If only so I can quit feeling guilty about me not going.