Just My Opinion – It Takes a Village to Raise a Village

Please forgive my paraphrasing of the very old and accurate African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”, but I firmly believe accepting this philosophy is essential for the people living in Small Town America.  Every smaller municipality in this country is made up of dynamic units that must effectively work together on some level to function for the benefit of its citizens.  These units include the local government, school districts, businesses and the citizens, especially voters, themselves.  Each unit or entity has a responsibility to effectively interact, in varying degrees, with the other three and work best when they are independently flexible and adaptable. 

In smaller communities, such as we have in Fulton County, this interaction is critical to the success and prosperity of the village or town.  These relationships cannot be dismissed, ignored or neglected without causing harm to each other and the community as a whole.  Actions by one will almost always affect the others in one way or another.  If those actions are internally and rigidly narrow in focus, the affect can be counter-productive. 

Many towns are fortunate to have peripheral organizations such as churches and community service groups that are typically made up of a cross section of the four main entities and can sometimes serve as an unofficial liaison for each other but their scope and effectiveness in those settings is limited.

Our hope, as members of the community, is that when an individual decides to run for public office or the local school board, they are motivated by wanting to work for what is best for the citizenry and improve our standing.  And, that their judgement is not directed or clouded by self-serving interests or personality conflicts or resistance to change and their decision-making process includes the consideration of the overall impact on the community.  Those sitting in seats of authority and power should be principled and guided by a moral imperative to do what is right for its citizens and not just what they are obligated to do.

Vetting candidates or encouraging people with the “right stuff” to get involved in public service is a responsibility the citizens need to take very seriously.  We also hope, that tax levies are only placed on the ballot as a last resort and, as tax-paying voters, we give them full consideration and not reject them out of hand.  As consumers, we can shop locally to support our businesses and, in turn, local employment as well as providing tax revenue for schools and village services.

As important as it is, having a voice in the way your town is governed and the kind of town you live in does not begin and end at the ballot box.  In fact, many people’s lives are affected by the actions and legislation of the governing bodies without having a vote or, in effect, without being represented.  With or without a vote, people can be involved in campaigns, initiatives, improvement projects and movements at any time and enact the change they want.

Let me be up front.  The power truly does lie with the people but the effective level of that power is a direct function of the effort the people put into making that happen. It does take work.  It takes a village.

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