Get involved or don#039;t complain

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 28, 2003

One of the main principles of the founding of our country was to eliminate taxation without representation. Colonists in the new world had no real representation in the court of the King of England, and the royal governors were not much more than puppets of the monarchy.

The colonists revolted on this principle and others, and what ensued was the birth of the greatest nation on the globe.

Those early citizens - the early Americans - took pride in their newfound freedoms of government. They actively participated, and the framers of the Constitution worked hard to ensure fairness for all.

Today, it seems Americans have lost the fire our forefathers felt deep inside.

We complain about the actions of our elected officials, yet we rarely, as a whole, take the time to exercise our right to initiate change.

We don't, as a whole, freely serve or seek the position of an elected official. Instead, we simply complain and move on.

This shouldn't be.

At a recent meeting of the Covington County Commission, there were five citizens in attendance. Two of them reporters.

Only three in attendance were there to either voice their concerns or see their elected government in action. That's a sad slap in the face to our founding fathers.

Two of the individuals in attendance were there to voice their concerns over a proposed subdivision near their property. In the most civil of manners, the county commission heard and addressed the concerns of the citizens. This was democracy in action.

At a recent Andalusia City Board of Education meeting, only one reporter was present in addition to the board members and school officials. And this is a most critical time in our state's education system - yet no one makes the effort to attend and voice their concerns.

During Andalusia City Council meetings, other than reporters and city workers, few people show up. Instead, they say they watch it on the cable channel. That's fine to watch a replay, but it isn't democracy in action. There's no opportunity to actively voice a concern before a vote is made.

No, for democracy to truly work in this republic called The United States of America, citizens - that's you, the newspaper, the television - must make the effort to get involved and get concerned.

We can't just talk about it. We must act on it.

We applaud those who do act on this matter, and shame those who don't simply because they're unconcerned. There are those who can't get involved due to physical or mental illness, but the vast majority can - and must.

If not, what will happen to our country, and do we really want to know?