Friday, April 25, 2008

The Chain of Command

First let me say that I wholeheartedly believe that the majority of our government is comprised of good people doing their best to do what they believe is right. However, I also believe that the chain of command in this country has been turned on its head in many instances.

Businesses and individuals are not here to serve the will of the government. It's the other way around. We are the bosses. They are the employees. We oversee and direct them. Yet government has taken on a leadership role in many aspects of our society, whether it be through zoning regulations, tax policy, resource distribution, or any number of tactics aimed at influencing the behavior and direction of the people they represent. They have taken the leadership role, not by force, but by default. Too often, people are too afraid of potential fines, permit denials, or some other form of retribution to speak out when they feel the government has overstepped its bounds.

Fortunately, I have found these fears to be largely unwarranted in our particular community. While I disagree with many of the tactics and policies of local authorities, as have many others, I have been able to speak my mind and make my case without undue reprisal. Spirited discourse, yes, retribution, no.

My suggestion here is not revolution but open and honest communication. When your government appears to be going astray, go tell them. Go to the public meeting, make the phone call, send the email. Keep it civil, concise and on point. You may not get "Gee you're right" right off the bat, but they will listen. If you make your grievance widely known (again make the logical case, not the emotional one), other voices will join yours, then they have to listen. After all, we're the boss.

This is your country. Start running it.

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