‘We the people’ aim to ‘make it happen’
I was bewildered and befuddled as I tried to begin this column. Where to start and, most of all, where to stop in expressing concerns for the situations in our world today. It seems every time one turns on the television a flashing headline warns of ‘Breaking News.’ My cell phone buzzes constantly with alerts of recent developments in the political and economic climate. Broadcasters are questioning ‘who knew what and when did they know it’ in regard to various issues on the international front.
In our part of the globe, Harrison and Crawford counties, we have our own difficult issues. Good grief! This was supposed to be a period of hope for constructive directions and prosperity with a new and different national administration. Instead, concerns are mounting amongst various constituencies and all are scrambling in search of solid truth.
We citizens of our unique democracy have, through the centuries, been confident that our system of ‘checks and balances’ will take us through threats from within our system. The legislative body ‘ Congress ‘ is to write the laws. The administration is to administer or carry out the laws, and the judicial courts are to see that we carry out those laws. No one branch of the government can carry its own agenda without review and oversight of the other branches.
I am afraid many times ‘we the citizens’ have assumed these officially elected or appointed branches of our government would take care of any irregularities during crisis or prosperity.
With the turmoil of the past months, we find another powerful branch of that ‘checks and balances’ system is kicking into action: ‘We the people.’ Look at the marches throughout the country filled with people expressing their points of view in a mostly peaceful manner. As dramatic as these gatherings are, there are many folks who assumed they would be one-day events, forgotten when the marchers returned to their responsibilities at home. That has not proved to be the case.
Presently, record numbers of initiatives, groups and plans have been developed by people across the spectrum of political and social persuasion. In my opinion, this is the life blood of a democracy: citizen involvement.
Volunteers have always been a strong point for our country. People who just want to be part of the progress of their communities and country. No direct monetary profit and often long hours and little recognition were their pay.
Recently, Don and I joined the other bicentennial torch relay bearers for a thank-you dinner and photo recording. We all had a lot of fun and satisfaction in being a part of a statewide recognition of this special time in history.
Now, the relay and thank-you dinner didn’t just develop out of thin air. No, a committee ‘ several committees, in fact ‘ had worked for more than a year to develop and orchestrate the events with their many participants.
Such volunteer work is what has brought Corydon and Harrison County into the State of Indiana’s Stellar program, and it is what will carry it through the difficult route that such a program demands. A lot of hard-working people have given many hours to developing a plan to take advantage of a state program that assists in the economic development of communities. Along the way, there have been times when it was easy to agree and work together, and, as expected, there have been situations when the route provoked misunderstanding and setbacks.
Like many of you, I spend a lot of my thinking time lately figuring out what I, as a private citizen, should be doing to make our democracy strong in these changing times. This is true for any citizen no matter what their political bent or social concerns. Information and experience are both valuable commodities that we all work hard to acquire in their most honest and thought-out form.
In the past days, as I have tried to make phone calls and plan meetings, the biggest spoiler of all has entered the picture. Yes, the old, mean flu bug and contagious serious cold have gained their grip on a large number of our population. How humbling to be brought to the reality of our basic human frailty. Aching bodies and bed rest have brought our institutions and many actions to a slow pace. The reality is, at times in our lives, Kleenex and aspirin are the supreme opportunity for survival. And, yes, even this too shall pass.
As I look out my window here at the farm, I see the winter wheat is greening up and the geese are sizing up their birthing island on the pond. Spring is coming, and new beginnings and restarts are on the horizon. The new growth of spring comes from the fertile soil of the past seasons, so shall our progress nationally and here at home.
Let’s roll up our sleeves, open our minds and hearts, shake hands and get going. Our country will grow its strong democracy in the months ahead, Harrison County will develop its Stellar projects and this year’s corn will be planted. ‘We the people’ will make it happen.