The Responsibilities of Leadership and Citizenship
I posted this on a local community blog- but the community could be yours, anywhere USA. It’s time to stand up, folks!
Claudia Woodward-Rice May 30, 2014
The issue of leadership has come up on the Harbor again and again lately. While the people struggle to inform themselves about possible impacts from Crude-by-Rail, and a proposed change of GH Community Hospital structure from non-profit to public- we find that elected leaders (and some hoping to be elected) are uninformed and un-informing.
• Why did Port Commissioners rubber-stamp Crude-by-Rail?
• Why didn’t our state senators and representatives bring the hospital issue to our attention two years ago?
We elect people and pay them to do some of the jobs we don’t have time to do ourselves: fully research issues, and report their findings honestly; and engage public awareness about decisions that need to be made in a timely manner so there is no rush to judgment. At least that is what we should be able to expect from our elected officials.
Too often “leaders” don’t do their homework, and wait until issues are full-blown before they choose a position. Or they choose to ride the coattails of Corporate honchos even when this is detrimental to the communities they represent. This go-along-to-get-along attitude is the norm, but Grays Harbor can no longer afford it.
Citizens have responsibilities too. We elect leaders and sometimes we need to ask why more good people don’t run? We need to hold those in office accountable, and consider replacing them with the community-minded who would truly represent us. We need to go to city and county meetings, engage our neighbors and participate. The sacrifices made over the generations so we can be free citizens should not be taken lightly. They need to be paid for with our active participation: It really is Use-it-or-Lose-it.
Complacency and apathy are signs of defeat. But there is a new energy on the Harbor, people are meeting, researching, speaking out. Those who might not normally travel in the same circles are sharing information and finding common ground. We live here: it is up to us to make the decisions that affect our lives and community.
We don’t have to sit and wait for the powers-that-be to decide the conditions of our lives. Let’s take it into our own hands and be Democracy on the Harbor. It’s the path to success and it comes with a spirit of joy that might amaze you.
Claudia Woodward-Rice lives in Central Park outside of Aberdeen, WA.