I frequently get bailed up by locals who are keen to tell me about the failings and shortfalls of the local council, or government of one shade or another.
They are frustrated or angry with a decision that has been made, or something that hasn’t happened but should. Such conversations are peppered with comments like:
“They don’t care.”
“Those idiots have no idea about what this community really needs!”
“Someone should do something about it!”
Then, when I ask what they are doing about it, the person usually gets defensive.
“Well, it’s not up to me,” they say, or something to that affect.
I’m sorry, but it is.
We don’t live in a dictatorship. As a democratic country, we have numerous rights, rights that - it’s important to remember on this momentous day – were fought hard for by members of previous generations.
Voting is the most obvious and one of the most taken for granted.
But the opportunity to ‘do something’ doesn’t end there.
Often when people come to me riled up about an issue, I suggest they write a letter to the editor so that I can publish it in this paper. For every five or six people I say this to I perhaps get one letter. Excuses run to “Oh, I’m not good with words”, or “I don’t have the time”.
Too often I discover that people who are burdened with frustration about a council decision have not spoken to one councillor about it or anyone on council staff.
I have to say, this mystifies me.
I suppose it is easier to just complain to anyone who will listen, rather than write a letter, or make an appointment, or organise a meeting.
In my experience, if an issue really matters – if it is something the person cares about on a deep level – then they will go to enormous lengths to get their point across.
Even in the relatively brief time I have been in this post, I have seen change happen when concerned residents argue a solid point.
If you’re not prepared to do that, then it’s all just a lot of bluster.