Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Harnessing the Energy of Fear

The more we create and participate in trusted networks the better we are able to deal with the uncertainties and fear in our lives. Fear will destroy a community unless there is a way to harness that energy and move the community forward rather than backward.

One major problem that we all face is that there are those among us who harness the energy of fear but, rather than doing so to move us forward, doing so to create greater fear and more power to their own agenda. Many in the media are particularly good at expanding negative behavior as it exposes more to their paid advertising. There are politicians who are good at pandering to the fear so as to create support for their misguided agenda.

We need to be able to turn to trusted voices, share our concerns, and work through our feelings. In time of fear and economic woe, all of us, especially our leaders, need to help guide the conversations forward and dissipate the buildup of bile that poisons us all.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Our Money vs. Government Money

Once we give our tax money to the government it is no longer our money, it is the government’s money. That is what we as a community have decided through our laws by us and by our elected leaders. To believe otherwise guides us into behaving in ways that do not move us forward. to believe in that way leads me to argue that a government employee must behave in a certain way because I pay her salary or that I get to decided which policies and laws I can skirt because I pay lots of money to a government or person in the government.

Now, it is our government and they are our politicians, our elected leaders. How they behave is not controlled by us, but rather guided by us. If they do not seem to being doing whats best for the community they represent whether through incompetence, malfeasance, or through any other sort of misguided reasoning, then we need to make change to someone who inspires hope and encourages our voices to be heard.

The more open communication there is, the more likely informed decisions will be made. Remember that our government is a republic, not a democracy, we depend upon our politicians to make the best decision for us, not the decision that the majority of us want at a given time, not the decision that the person who will give them the most money or goods wants at a given time, and not the decision that is most likely to get them reelected.

And as citizens in a community it is up to us to speak our ideas and to be appreciative listeners in community so as to help guide our leaders and ourselves into making the best informed decisions. In order for a community to be sustainable there must be ongoing open conversation and sharing of ideas in all sorts of venues: in coffee shops, beauty parlors, grocery markets, libraries, schools, colleges, and on and on. There need to be ongoing civic gatherings where there is guided conversation. We need to listen, think, and talk in ways that move activity forward.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I voted today. It was voting day and I decided I was not going to vote absentee and I was not going to go downtown to election headquarters to vote early. I investigated the issues and the judges and the other candidates and listened to a lot of the talking heads. I don’t think I changed my mind on anything in the last three weeks but I can better explain to myself why I voted the way I did.

It was great to get up and get to the polls early seeing my neighbors doing the same. We were all there being accountable for our citizenship. There was excitement even before that first cup of coffee.

The line when I got there was out the door to the street but within fifteen minutes I was voting. The PTA did have a coffee cart outside to service the line but as the line dissipated before I finished the cart was back inside. I had gone on line last week and gotten a copy of the ballot so there were no surprises. It took five minutes to properly blacken all the appropriate ovals and then feed the ballot through the scanner.

I did get coffee and a Bialy bagel (If it’s not Bialy’s it’s just bread) supporting the PTA. It might be nice to sit around talking at tables after so as to break away from the solemnity of voting.

Isn’t it great to be able to vote and to have your vote mean something even in not supporting a winning side?