In the last week of the campaigns, whether for President of the United States or for the more humble initiatives the City of Salida has to offer, I think it is worth considering the bigger picture. First, it is important to honor those who have already voted or will vote. Second, I feel compelled to say that voting is not that high of bar given the importance of each vote we make for every candidate and on every issue.
According to Clay Jenkinson, a humanities scholar, Thomas Jefferson, one of our original Republicans, believed, “To act passively toward government is to abdicate the idea of self-government”. I believe to vote without being informed is an abdication of your duty as a citizen of our great country. Informed voting is the least we can do to confirm our luck in being alive in this amazing place. Being an informed voter demands effort. I say if we choose not to make that effort we are rubber stamping any decision made by public officials by omission. Voting based upon hearsay regarding the candidates or issues could be considered a worse offense than not voting at all.
The Salida City Council gave a lot of thought to the City initiatives you find on your ballot (2A-2F). Each one speaks to a specific need that has been strongly stated by a large number of our constituents. The Council has come up with solutions. It is up to you, the voter, to determine if they are solutions that work for you.
Many have heard me state that it is considered a curse in another culture to say “May you live in interesting times”. I say that these interesting times are an opportunity to find something better in ourselves. I wish for discourse to begin, not end, in the aftermath of November 4. I hope we will come together offering solutions for the general good. We might find that people who seem so different in beliefs really are not so different after all. I know that rather than just fighting for a win we would do better if we fought for solutions that actually solve problems.
To again quote Jenkinson, “A Jeffersonian has no choice but to take part in civic life, no matter how time-consuming, frustrating… it becomes.” We are a representative democracy. As your only “at large” representative I often feel in a difficult position because I hear from so few and the few I hear from are so loud. In order to better represent all of you I am asking that, from here on, we all commit to paying greater attention and to contacting your City representatives when you have an opinion and/or a solution.