Engaging in a blame and shame game on individuals in elected positions is one way to express your concerns. I have done it. I found it an ineffective approach to creating change. It’s true that I criticize the SB as a group, but I try to focus on their poor decision making, not personalities.
There’s lots of blame to spread around. Sometimes it’s important to look for our own part in it. Because people are disenchanted with government, they have stopped being continually involved in the process. Sure, we go to the polls and vote yes or no, but’s it’s not enough. Unfortunately, our votes come AFTER the decisions have been made without our input.
It’s time to get ahead of the game. We need to organize, gather facts, and communicate to our elected officials what we will approve BEFORE they make the decisions to sign us up for these expenses. With the internet, videos of meetings, social media and e-mail, it’s easier to do that than ever before. If enough people get involved, elected officials will be forced to listen and govern accordingly or suffer the consequences at the polls.
Last night’s Budget Committee meeting (8-2 to NOT approve requested money by the School Board) was a good example of this approach and its effect. I’m not gonna try and take tons of credit for what happened but I do feel that my advocacy had an effect on the outcome.
I wrote an opinion piece with as much factual information as I could find. I asked people to contact their budget committee members with their feelings. Many did just that. There was no public comment at the meeting. It wasn’t needed because they already knew.
With our busy lives, we’ve kind of let go of our responsibility to lead our elected officials. If they won’t listen, we may need to push them in the direction we want them to go. It can be done in a respectful but effective way. Allowing them to tell us “we know what’s best for you” is over. If we have enough numbers, we still hold all the power. It’s time to remember that.