Speak up, show up, or shut up

In the past few months I've attend a few public meetings in which some members of the audience have been outraged over the actions or spending of an elected town board.

Complaining after the fact is like repairing a dam after the slowly building crack has dumped so much water that there is no need for the dam.  Odd analogy, but I couldn't think of another one off the top of my head.  Or waiting to tell someone that there is a leak in a can of paint or cup of coffee until after all the paint or coffee has spilled all over the floor.  Okay, enough obsessing over analogies, you get the idea.  Too little too late is not useful for anyone.

Because here's the thing...  Being an armchair quarterback might make you feel better for venting, but your words would have far more meaning and impact if you actually got out of the audience and got involved in the process.  Don't complain about decisions being made when you chose not be involved in the decision making process.  Your neighbors will only see you as the after-the-fact complainer and not a pro-active participant in making decisions that could affect everyone.

Municipal government, especially in a small town, is a perfect example of government by the people and for the people.  We're all volunteers.  Meetings and work sessions are open for anyone to attend.  Make your thoughts and concerns heard!  If you don't like the way a town board is run, run for office during the next election.  If you don't want to run for office, attend a few meetings to voice your concerns or speak to your elected officials.

If you don't like the way things are being run speak up, show up and get involved.  One of the people you can blame when you think things are not going the right way is yourself.  You have the opportunity to make a difference.  Otherwise shut up and save your venting for yourself.

Today's post isn't brought about by today's public hearing.  But it got me thinking about what I meant to write after a meeting last fall and I'm just now getting to it.


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